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The  Life  and  Works  of 
Mrs.  Therese  Robinson 


(Talvj) 


BY 
IRMA  ELIZABETH  VOIGT 

(A.  B.  1910,  A.  M.  1911,  University  of  Illinois) 


THESIS 

Submitted  in  partial  fulfillment  of  the  requirements  for  the 
degree  of  doctor  of  philosophy  in  German  in  the  Graduate 
School  of  the    University   of  Illinois 


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1913 


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The  Life  and  Works  of 
Mrs.  Therese  Robinson 

(Talvj) 


BY 

IRMA  ELIZABETH  ^OIGT 

(A.  B.  1910,  A.  M.  1911,  University  of  Illinois) 


THESIS 

Submitted  in  partial  fulfillment  of  the  requirements  for  the 

degree  of  doctor  of  philosophy  in  German  in  the  Graduate 

School  of  the    University   of  Illinois 

1913 

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ASTOH    LENOX  AND 

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To 


Mr.   Edward  Robinson 


CONTENTS 


Page 

Preface    

Introduction  7 

Biography   26 

Literary  Activity  Prior  to  Coming  to  America 43 

Tlie  American  Indian 53 

Studies  in  Popular  Poetry 71 

History  of  the  Colonization  of  New  England 87 

Miscellaneous  Essays    104 

A  Study  of  the  Ossian  Question 112 

Her  Novels    123 

Conclusion    136 

Bibliography  142 

Appendix 145 


PREFACE 


It  is  with  great  pleasure  that  I  take  this  opportunity  of 
expressing-  my  deep  gratitude  to  Professor  Julius  Goebel  of 
the  University  of  Illinois,  who  first  awakened  in  me  a  keen 
interest  in  the  history  of  the  German-American  element  in  this 
country.  It  was  he  who  directed  my  attention  to  the  subject 
of  the  present  monograph  and  by  his  broad  scholarship,  his  un- 
failing enthusiasm  and  kindly  advice  made  this  study  possible. 

I  also  wish  to  acknowledge  gratefully  the  helpful  criticism 
and  the  valuable  suggestions  which  I  owe  to  Professor  O.  E. 
Lessing  of  the  University  of  Illinois. 

To  Mr.  Edward  Robinson,  of  New  York  City,  Talvj's 
grandson,  who  kindly  placed  at  my  disposal  what  was  left  of 
her  manuscript  material  as  well  as  a  photograph  of  her  portrait, 
I  respectfully  dedicate  this  study. 

I.  E.  V. 


THE  LIFE  AND  WORKS  OF  THERE SE  ROBINSON 

(TALVJ). 

By  Irma  Elizabeth  Voigt,  Ph.  D. 
Dean  of  Women  in  Ohio  University,  Athens,  O. 

Introduction. 

One  of  the  most  fascinating  and  difficult  problems  which 
confronts  the  student  of  American  history  is  that  of  the  rise 
and  development  of  a  higher  national  culture  in  America. 
The  fact  that  it  is  closely  interwoven  with  the  question  of 
the  development  of  a  uniform  American  nationality  out  of 
the  various  ethnic  elements  composing  the  American  con- 
stitutes its  peculiar  complexity.  What  is  called  American 
national  culture  is,  at  the  present  day,  not  the  product  of 
the  American  people  as  a  racial  unity,  but  the  result  of 
the  contributions  made  by  the  civilizations  of  the  various 
ethnic  elements  which  have  met  and  mingled  in  this 
country.  While  it  will  remain  the  task  of  the  future  his- 
torian of  American  civilization  to  determine  the  share 
which  each  of  these  ethnic  elements  had  in  the  process  of 
forming  a  new  composite  culture,  this  work  cannot  be 
accomplished  satisfactorily  until  a  number  of  single  detailed 
investigations  have  been  made. 

It  is  from  this  latter  point  of  view  that  the  following 
study  of  the  life  and  work  of  Mrs.  Robinson  (Talvj)  has 
been  undertaken.  A  woman  distinguished  as  a  scholar  and 
author,  and  representing  as  a  member  of  the  Goethe  circle 
the  highest  type  of  German  culture,  enters  America  at  a 
period  when  the  higher  civilization  of  this  country  is  in 
the  first  stages  of  its  making.  German  influence  in  the 
previous  century  had  not  been  Avanting,  but  it  had  been 
confined  chiefiy  to  Pennsylvania,  where  Philadelphia  early 
became  a  center  of  culture,  and  to  New  York,  where  the 
first  original  writers  of  America,  men  like  Irving,  Cooper, 
and  Bryant,   had   felt  its  stimulating  touch.     On  the   whole, 

—  7  — 


however,  the  higher  intellectual  life  of  America  had  been 
English  in  character,  with  a  decided  leaning,  since  the  time 
of  the  Revolution,  toward  the  French  spirit.  And  so  it 
remained  until  the  second  decade  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
when  a  group  of  talented  men  at  Harvard  inspired  by 
Madame  de  Stael's  book  (1814),  transferred  the  completion 
of  their  studies  to  Germany,  and  there  discovered  the 
wealth  of  German  culture.  Upon  their  return  to  America 
they  began  to  implant  consciousl}^  the  best  seeds  of  this 
culture  into  the  rising  civilization  of  the  young  republic.^ 
With  the  thirties  of  the  last  century,  American  literature 
and  philosophy,  philology  and  historiography,  —  every 
branch,  in  fact,  of  intellectual  activity, — began  thus  to 
show  the  influence  of  German  cultural  ideals. 

While  in  the  spheres  just  mentioned  the  value  of  this 
foreign  impulse  is  today  more  or  less  recognized,  it  seems 
little  known  that  in  the  field  of  American  theology  there 
was  a  similar  movement.  Inasmuch  as  the  husband  of  the 
woman  of  whom  this  study  is  to  treat  was  a  leader  in  its 
inception,  a  word  concerning  it  may  be  in  place.  Despite 
the  fact  that  theology  had  been  from  the  first  the  dominant 
force  in  America,  it  can  justly  be  said  that  from  the  modern 
point  of  view  it  was  utterly  devoid  of  the  scientific  spirit. 
To  be  sure,  among  the  theologians  of  the  various  denom- 
inations v/e  find  men  of  a  great  amount  of  learning;  but 
theirs  was  not  a  productive  scholarship.  Proudly  confident  that 
truth  had  been  established  once  for  all  by  the  fathers  of  the 
Reformation,  they  felt  no  need  of  an  unremitting  search 
after  newer  light.  During  a  period  of  more  than  two  cen- 
turies American  theology  did  not  produce  a  single  vv^ork 
which  could  be  considered  a  permanent  contribution  to  theo- 

1  Professor  Charles  F.  Richardson  discussing  this  period,  says  in  his 
excellent  work  American  Literature,  1607 — 1885,  that  "it  is  a  matter 
of  important  record  which  should  not  be  forgotten  by  the  student  of 
American  books,  that  the  force  of  the  newly  revived  Teutonic  mind 
was  directly  felt  in  America  simultaneously  with  its  impact  upon  British 
thought.  Germany  and  its  philosophy  and  literature  were  not  less 
known  and  not  less  highly  esteemed  in  the  United  States  than  in 
England  and  Scotland  during  this  period." 

—  8  — 


logy  as  a  science.^  So  powerful,  moreover,  was  the  dom- 
ination of  the  theological  spirit  in  America,  that  it  claimed 
control  over  all  intellectual  activity,  and  resisted  every 
effort  to  introduce  a  cultural  ideal  which  did  not  recognize 
theological  supremacy.'^ 

The  first  attempt  at  making  a  breach  in  this  stronghold 
of  the  elder  dogmatism  was  the  Unitarian  movement.  A 
similar,  although  far  less  radical  attempt  at  infusing  new 
life  into  American  theology,  by  bringing  it  into  contact 
with  the  new  philosophical  and  scientific  spirit  of  Germany, 
was  made  by  Professor  Edward  Robinson,  the  husband 
of  Talvj.  It  was  for  this  purpose  that  he  founded,  after  his 
return  from  Germany  in  1830,  the  Biblical  Repository, 
afterwards  known  as  the  Bibliotheca  Sacra,  the  pages  of 
which  clearly  reflect  the  influence  of  German  culture  in 
the  theological  field.  It  is  a  noteworthy  fact  that  the  first 
volumes  of  this  periodical  contain,  aside  from  Robinson's 
and    Moses    Stuart's   essays,*    only   contributions   of    German 

2  By  theology  as  a  science  I  mean,  of  course,  historical  theology 
in  the  widest  sense  of  the  word,  for  it  is  the  only  branch  of  theology 
or  the  science  of  religion  to  which  the  term  "science"  in  the  modern 
sense  is  applicable.  The  "Treatise  on  the  Freedom  of  the  Will"  by 
Jonathan  Edwards  is  not  considered  here  because  of  its  metaphysical 
character. 

How  keenly  the  lack  of  the  scientific  spirit  in  American  theology  was 
felt  as  late  as  1840  may  be  seen  from  the  following  words  of  Theodore 
Parker:  "It  is  only  the  Germans  in  this  age  who  study  theology  or  even 
the  Bible,  with  the  aid  of  enlightened  and  scientific  criticism.     There 

is  not   even   a   history   of  theology   in   our  language For   our 

ecclesiastical  history  we  depend  upon  translations  from  Du  Pin  and 
Tillemont,  or,  more  generally,  on  those  from  the  German  Mosheim  or 
Gieseler."  The  Dial,  vol.  i,  p.  324. 

3  Cf.  Richardson,  American  Literature,  vol.  i,  p.  119:  "It  is  not 
easy  in  these  days  of  the  independence  of  the  laity  to  estimate  rightly 
the  power  of  the  ministers  in  early  New  England.  Few  Roman  Catho- 
lic priests  exercise  a  more  potent  control  over  their  congregations 
than  did  these  ministers  and  servants  of  the  first  churches  of  Boston, 
Salem,  Plymouth,  over  their  independent  and  democratic  flock.  Theo- 
retically the  minister  was  but  one  among  the  body  of  the  church, 
practically  he  was  a  force  in  public  affairs  and  in  social  order." 

*  Cf.  Richardson,  Am.  Lit.  vol.  i.  p.  294:     "The  spirituality  and  the 

—  9  ~ 


scholars  in  translation.  Thus  great  was  still  the  dearth  of 
theological  scholarship  in  America  at  that  time.  And  quite 
frankly  one  of  the  writers  states :  our  American  philosophy 
has  continued  essentially  the  same  as  in  the  seventeenth 
century.^ 

While  Talvj,  as  will  be  seen  later,  assisted  her  husband 
in  this  work,  her  chief  interests  lay,  in  the  wider  fields  of 
human  culture.  In  order  to  estimate  correctly  her  con- 
tribution to  the  national  civilization  which  was  then  gra- 
dually taking  form,  it  may  be  well  in  this  introductory 
chapter  to  give  a  brief  survey  of  contemporary  conditions 
of  American  cultivation.  There  are  two  main  sources  from 
which  we  may  derive  our  knowledge  of  the  degree  to  which 
the  higher  intellectual  life  had  developed.  One  of  these  is 
to  be  found  in  contemporary  American  literature  and  in 
the  status  of  such  other  expressions  of  the  spirit  of  the 
times  as  higher  education,  music,  art,  etc. ;  the  other  in 
opinions  of  cultured  foreigners,  especially  the  Germans  who 
during  this  period  migrated  to  America  in  great  numbers. 
Some  of  these  newcomers  were  seeking  this  country  as  the 
Utopia  of  human  freedom ;  others  were  filled  with  the  hope 
of  finding  here  an  opportunity  of  taking  part  in  the  up- 
building of  its  civilization.  For  these  latter  Gustav  Kor- 
ner,"  himself  a  man  of  academic  training,  is  impelled  by 


discreet  liberalism  of  Schleiermacher  and  other  Germans  of  kindred 
mind  were  beginning  to  be  used  as  allies  by  the  conservative  Congre- 
gationalists  of  New  England  who,  like  Stuart,  were  not  content  to  let 
'German  culture'  be   deemed  the  property  of  Emerson  and   Parker." 

5  Philip  Schaf,  "German  Literature  in  America",  Bibliotheca  Sacra, 
vol.  iv,  p.  511. 

6  Gustav  Koerner  (1809—1896)  came  from  the  academic  circles  of 
Frankfurt  a/M.  and  Heidelberg,  and  as  a  young  man  entered  the 
activities  of  American  life  at  its  most  significant  period  of  develop- 
ment. His  career  in  America  is  closely  associated  with  the  political 
and  historical  development  of  Illinois,  as  he  was  supreme  judge 
in  this  state  from  1845  to  1850,  and  lieutenant  governor  from  1852 
to  1856.  Beginning  with  Van  Buren's  presidential  campaign,  he  took 
an   active  interest   in  each   successive  national   election.      He   was   es- 

—  10  — 


Gottfried  Duden's^  glowing  but  misleading  reports  of  life 
in  America  to  raise  the  questions,  "How  far  has  life  in  the 
American  republic,  especially  in  the  new  western  states, 
developed  in  its  intellectual  and  political  phases?"  and 
"What  restrictions  are  the  present  defects  of  this  develop- 
ment likely  to  lay  upon  the  intellectual  freedom  of  the 
cultivated  immigrants?"  He  concludes  these  questions  with 
the  remark,  "To  him  who  is  seeking  merely  a  haven  of  re- 
lease from  the  burdens  of  sustenance  and  physical  oppres- 
sion, these  considerations,  aside  from  arousing  a  slight  in- 
terest, can  have  no  especial  significance;  but  he  who  is 
seeking  a  place  in  which  to  move  and  express  kimself  freely, 
spiritually  as  well  as  physically,  certainly  must  consider 
well     every    possible    answer    to    these    questions."  ^      That 

pecially  fitted  for  campaigning  because  of  his  ability  to  speak  fluently 
in  German,  English,  and  French.  Not  only  was  he  the  most  confidential 
advisor  of  Governor  "Dick"  Yates,  but  he  w^as  also  consulted  fre- 
quently by  President  Lincoln  in  regard  to  various  highly  important 
matters.  As  a  lawyer  he  was  eminently  successful,  a  fact  which 
was  recognized  by  the  University  of  Heidelberg  when  in  1882  this 
body  conferred  upon  him  the  honorary  degree  of  Doctor  of  Laws. 
His  entire  life  in  America,  to  his  very  last  year,  was  one  of  the  most 
intense  interest  and  activity  in  the  land  of  his  adoption.  (Cf.  Ratter- 
mann,  vol.  xi,  p.  219  fif.) 

''  As  early  as  1824  Gottfried  Duden  had  taken  up  a  temporary  abode 
about  80  miles  from  St.  Louis.  From  here  he  wrote  most  attractive 
and  alluring  letters  to  his  friends  in  Germany,  and  because  of  the 
respect  in  which  he  was  held,  both  by  virtue  of  his  intellectuality  and  his 
political  prominence  in  his  fatherland,  these  letters  had  a  very  great 
influence.  But  unfortunately  Duden  was  a  man  in  whom  theory  did 
not  grow  out  of  practice,  and  theoretically  he  had  found  in  America 
the  Utopia  for  which  he  was  seeking.  Attracted  by  his  favorable  re- 
ports, in  the  hope  of  finding  a  land  abounding  in  milk  and  honey,  many 
highly  cultured  German  families  came  to  this  country  in  1832  to  settle 
in  the  same  spot  which  Duden  had  left,  in  a  sudden  access  of  disap- 
pointment, after  a  two  years  residence.  After  several  years  spent  in 
America  Koerner  became  impressed  with  the  fact  that  many  of  Du- 
den's  reports  were  altogether  incorrect  and  misleading,  and  this  led 
him  in  1834  to  write  and  publish  his  pamphlet  entitled,  Beleuchtung  des 
Duden'schen  Berichtes  ilber  die  westlichen  Staaten  Nordamerikas.  Von 
Amerika  aus.     (Cf.  Koerner,  Das  deutsche  Element,  p.  299  ff.) 

8  Koerner,  Beleuchtung  des  Duden'schen  Berichtes,  1834,  p.  45. 

—  11  — 


men  like  Koerner  came  here  with  lofty  patriotic  intentions  is 
usually  overlooked  by  American  historians,  as  it  was 
frequently  unappreciated  by  their  American  contem- 
poraries. It  was  because  America  was  to  be  their  future 
home  that  these  men  were  so  deeply  interested  in  getting  a 
correct  view  of  the  entirety  of  American  life,  of  its  physical 
as  well  as  its  intellectual  and  cultural  side.  This  very  fact 
also  makes  the  notes  of  German  travelers,  which  upon  first 
consideration  might  seem  but  hasty  and  superficial,  of  the 
greatest  significance.  The  chief  object  of  all  these  reports, 
whether  by  educated  German  residents  or  by  travelers, 
was  to  give  to  future  German  emigrants  the  accurate 
knowledge  they  were  seeking;  and  this  despite  a  feeling  on 
the  part  of  many  Americans  that  these  men  were  spying 
upon  them  in  order  to  be  able  to  ridicule  America  upon 
their  return  to  the  Fatherland.  That  their  attitude  was 
keenly  critical  and  their  expressions  boldly  truthful  is  but 
natural,  and  argues  neither  against  their  hopefulness  for 
America's  future  nor  against  their  confidence  in  and  respect 
for  her  achievements.  The  reports  in  almost  all  cases  give 
evidence  of  the  characteristically  critical  and  scientific  view- 
point of  the  cultured  German.  But  before  considering  fur- 
ther the  status  of  American  culture  as  interpreted  by  these 
men,  we  may  profitably  consider  what  our  contemporary 
American  sources  have  to  tell  us  on  this  subject. 

Perhaps  the  one  great  obstacle  which  at  first  retarded 
the  development  of  American  culture  and  later  frequently 
resulted  in  its  misdirection,  was  lack  of  national  unity.  From 
the  earliest  period,  the  spirit  of  nationality  had  had  to  fight 
its  way,  stubbornly  resisted  all  along  its  course,  by  local 
pride.  The  first  breaking  away  from  the  bondage  of  sec- 
tionalism followed  the  extreme  ardor  of  the  times  which 
immediately  preceded  final  unification,  and  in  consequence 
American  literature  began  to  assume  as  early  as  1789  the 
appearance,  at  least,  of  a  national  literature.  But  the  new- 
fledged  aggressive  Americanism  was  ignorant  of  the  fact 
that  it  was  impossible  to  create  by  conscious  effort  truly 
national  poetry,  music,  or  art.     To  this  statement  it  must 

—  12  — 


be  added  that  America,  in  her  origin  as  well  as  in  her 
literary  standards,  was  provincial,  not  national.  She  de- 
clared her  political  independence  of  England,  but  at  the 
same  time  continued  to  follow  English  models  in  almost 
every  other  regard.  Only  here  and  there  was  heard  occa- 
sionally the  voice  of  original  poetry,  as  for  instance,  when 
Philip  Freneau  recognized  the  Indian  as  a  fit  subject  for 
literary  treatment. 

Because,  therefore,  of  its  decidedly  imitative  character, 
it  was   not   until   the   nineteenth    century    that    American 
literature   was   considered   with   anything   but   indifference 
or  even  contempt  by  other  countries.     When  this  new  era 
was  ushered  in,  by  Washington  Irving  and  others,  it  came 
as  the  result  of  travel  by  American  men  of  letters  among 
the  countries  of  Europe,  and  an  honest  effort  on  their  part 
to  imbibe  the  culture  of  the  older  civilizations.     A  natural 
and   praiseworthy   desire  to   create  and   possess   a   literature 
which  should  truly  represent  the  nation  began  to  take  root 
and  offered  a  strong  incentive  to  write.     However,  while 
sharing  in  this  desire  for  a  wider  national  life,  each  section 
of  the  country   retained  its  own  peculiar   characteristics  and 
aims.     This  would  have  been  very  well  had  each  of  these 
sections  still  developed  a  literature  national  in  its  character, 
as,  for  instance,  the   German  principalities  and  territories 
did  during  the  eighteenth  and  nineteenth  centuries,  main- 
taining as  it  were,  a  unity  in  variety.    But  conjoined  with  this 
sectionalism  was  a  local  jealousy  which  made  each  section  feel 
its  own  peculiar  preeminence  as  a  center  of  national  culture. 
New   England,   surprising  as   it  may  seem,  played  at   first  a 
small  role  in  the  rise  of  national  literature.     She  was  greatly 
surpassed  by  the  South  and  the  Middle  States.     There  was 
then,  as  there  is  now,  a  tendency  to  slight  the  work  of  the 
South  and  give  Northern  writers  an  undue  prominence.''    Yet 

^  Is  it  not  strange,"  says  the  Southern  Literary  Messenger  for 
1847,  "that  men,  claimmg  to  be  imbued  with  a  spirit  of  nationality, 
should  be  able  to  show  so  plainly  to  foreigners  how  those  things  for 
whose  absence  they  reproach  us,  cannot  yet  be  reasonably  expected  from 
us,  from  the  stage  of  progress  in  which  we  are,  and  yet  forget  both  the 
philosophy  and  the   candor  which  they   recommend  to  the   foreigner, 

—  13  — 


an  impartial  survey  shows  that  the  warm,  imaginative,  and  ro- 
mantic Southern  nature  has  contributed  most  significantly  to 
American  literature.  The  failure  of  critics  to  allot  due  recogni- 
tion to  Southern  influence  may  be  due  to  her  lack  of  any  definite 
schools  of  writers.  The  history  of  Southern  culture  is  largely  a 
history  of  isolated  careers.  Had  the  South  possessed  the  same 
advantages  as  New  England,  she  would  undoubtedly  have 
achieved  results  that  would  have  thrown  all  the  weight  of 
literary  prestige  on  her  side.^°  In  the  Middle  States  we  find 
Philip  Freneau  from  New  Jersey  and  Charles  Brockden  Brown 
from  Philadelphia,  both  of  whom  were  without  New  England 
rivals.  As  late  as  1846  Edgar  Allan  Poe  claimed  that  the  auth- 
ors in  New  York  City  included  one-fourth  of  all  in  America. 
Their  influence,  though  seemingly  silent,  was  extensive  and 
decisive.  From  Irving's  advent  in  1807  to  that  of  Longfellow 
and  Emerson,  New  York  was  certainly  entitled  to  the  distinc- 
tion of  being  a  literary  center.  But  with  the  founding  of  the 
North  American  Review  in  1815  in  Boston,  a  new  spirit  which 
greatly  modified  the  narrowness  and  sternness  of  the  old  Puri- 
tanism entered  New  England. 

The  causes  of  this  shifting  of  centers  of  culture  is  ex- 
plained by  the  fact  that  the  Southern  temperament  and  the 
Southern  mode  of  life  fitted  its  men  to  excel  in  an  era  of  ora- 
tory. When,  however,  the  era  changed  to  one  of  purely  literary 
cultivation,  intellectual  supremacy,  as  is  noted  above,  lay  first 
with  Philadelphia  and  later  with  New  York.^^     Tom  Moore 


and  commit  toward  one  portion  of  their  own  country  a  greater  folly 

and   injustice   than  the   foreigner   does   to   the   whole and   we  do 

scorn  that  narrow-mindedness  which  regards  Philadelphia,  New  York, 
and  Boston  as  America." 

i»  Cf.  Pancoast,  Introduction  to  American  Literature,  p.  259. 

11  To  the  student  of  German  American  History  I  need  not  point 
out  the  large  share  which  the  cultured  German  element  of  Pennsylvania 
and  New  York  had  in  developing  the  early  leadership  of  Philadelphia 
and  New  York  in  matters  of  literature,  music  and  science.  Those 
who  are  less  acquainted  with  this  fact  are  referred  to  the  following 
books  and  articles: 

Hallesche  Nachrichten,  neuherausgegeben  mit  historischen  Erlau- 

—  14  — 


said  in  1840  that  Philadelphia  was  the  only  place  in  America 
that  could  boast  of  a  literary  society.  The  cultural  sceptre  was 
all  the  more  certain  of  award  to  the  Middle  Atlantic  States 
from  the  fact  that  New  England's  genius  was  still,  at  this  per- 
iod, bound  by  religious  prejudice.  When  the  famous  group  of 
Boston  writers  broke  the  bonds,  their  work  bore  the  stamp  of 
a  popular  movement.  This  was  undoubtedly  due  to  an  effort 
on  the  part  of  these  men  to  give  expression  to  the  ideas  and 
ideals  of  universality  and  liberality  which  many  of  them  had 
imbibed  in  their  study  and  travel  in  Europe,  and  especially  in 
Germany.  The  most  salient  phase  of  the  reaction  against  the 
stern  Puritanical  doctrines  which  held  sway  in  New  England 
for  so  long  was,  as  has  already  been  emphasized,  the  rise  of 
Unitarianism.  The  effect  of  this  movement  on  literature  was 
remarkable,  for  it  brought  with  it  the  assertion  of  individual 
opinions  and  freedom  of  thought.  When  Unitarianism  final- 
ly took  an  organized  form  in  1815  it  embodied  in  its  creed,  if 
it  may  be  said  to  have  a  creed,  the  idea  of  wider  culture.  Chan- 
ning,  one  of  its  greatest  representatives,  went  to  England  and 
through  Coleridge  imbibed  and  brought  back  with  him  the 
"new  life"  which  the  latter  had  found  in  German  thought  and 
ideals.  With  Channing  culture  was  religion.  Through  Uni- 
tarianism, then,  we  may  say  that  the  gates  were  opened  to  the 
intellectual  impulses  of  Europe  at  a  time  when  the  mother 
nations  were  aglow  with  new  ideas  and  philosophies.  In  1817 
Edward  Everett  returned  from  Germany  inspired  by  the  new 
great  world  of  thought  with  which  he  had  met.  But  New  Eng- 
land, as  well  as  the  country  at  large,  lacked  the  thousand  beauti- 
ful associations  of  poetry,  legend,  and  art  that  gave  to  Euro- 
pean culture  its  magic.     Longfellow,  perhaps  more  than  any 


terungen  etc.  von  W.  J.  Mann  und  B.  M.  Schmucker,  Allentown,  Pa. 
1886—95. 

Commissioner  of  Education's  Report  1897 — 98.  Commissioner  of 
Education  Report  for  1901,  vol.  I. 

Frederick  W.  Wilkens,  "Early  influence  of  German  Literature  in 
America";  Americana  Germanica,  vol  III,,  p.   103  fif. 

H.  A.  Rattermann,  Anfange  und  Entwickkmg  der  Musik  in  den 
Vereinigten  Staaten.  Jahrhuch  der  deutsch-amerikanischen  historischen 
Gesellschaft  von  Illinois,  vol.  XII,  p.  327  fif. 

—  15  — 


other  native  writer,  felt  the  American  need  for  the  refining  and 
cultivating  influences  that  were  so  povv^erful  in  the  Old  World. 
A  fortunate  circumstance  afforded  him,  very  early  in  his 
career,  the  opportunity  for  study  abroad,  an  opportunity  which 
lasted  for  three  years,  and  which  was  repeated  later  in  his  life. 
His  Hyperion  shows  most  decidedly  of  all  his  works,  how  deep- 
ly he  was  imbued  with  the  German  spirit.  And  with  all  his 
European  culture  and  the  expression  he  gave  to  it,  he  remained 
one  of  the  most  popular  poets  of  America,  certainly  a  powerful 
argument  for  the  value  of  a  universal  culture  in  the  develop- 
ment of  a  national  culture. 

Absolute  self-knowledge,  as  Goethe  remarks,  is  impossible 
for  the  individual  as  well  as  for  a  nation.  It  is  here  that  the 
observation  of  the  friendly  critic  becomes  of  the  greatest  value. 
While  American  scholars  give  us  a  fairly  just  view  of  condi- 
tions at  that  time,  the  detailed  observations  and  criticisms  of 
German  students  of  American  life,  mentioned  above, 
throw  a  light  upon  these  conditions  which  is  all  the  more 
interesting  because  it  emanates  from  men  representing  the 
cultural  ideals  which  were  to  become  so  powerful  in  America. 

One  of  the  criticisms  which  Americans  frequently  made 
upon  themselves  was  that  their  cultural  development  as  a  na- 
tion was  haltingly  slow.  Foreign  students  of  American  history 
attribute  this  belated  social  ripening  to  various  causes.  One 
on  which  all  seem  to  be  more  or  less  agreed  is  the  exaggerated 
emphasis  placed  upon  business  and  its  attendant  profits.  Koer- 
ner  says  that  even  a  greater  hindrance  than  the  lack  of  racial 
unity  or  the  defects  in  educational  methods  is  the  subordination 
of  science  to  business.  The  former  is  pursued  only  in  so  far  as 
it  is  an  adjunct  and  servant  to  the  latter.  That  merchants  had 
no  need  for  a  liberal  culture  seemed  to  be  a  national  axiom. 
Another  explanation  suggested  by  Koerner  as  partially  respons- 
ible for  this  lack  of  cultural  developm.ent  vv'as  that  America's 
early  settlers  in  New  England  and  elsewhere  did  not  bring  a 
literature  or  history  with  them,  for  they  belonged  for  the  most 
part  to  an  oppressed  people  and,  with  the  exception  of  a  few 
learned  clergymen,  to  a  class  possessed  of  little  general  educa- 
tion.   They  left  their  fatherland  at  a  time  when  higher  educa- 

—  16  — 


tion  was  quite  generally  the  prerogative  of  the  rich  and  power- 
ful. Those,  moreover,  who  did  possess  education  and  culture 
before  coming  to  America,  F.  J.  Grund  ^^  felt  did  not  differ 
enough  from  their  brothers  in  Europe  to  establish  at  once  a 
new  national  character.  The  almost  daily  influx  of  immigrants 
and  the  hardships  of  pioneer  life  made  the  basis  of  liberal 
development,  in  early  times  transient  and  unstable,  whereas 
the  highest  ideal  of  culture  presupposes  the  production  of 
such  permanent  values  in  literature,  science,  music,  philosophy, 
and  theology,  as  will  be  of  benefit  to  the  whole  of  civilized 
humanity. 

At  the  root  of  the  growth  of  such  a  culture  lies  education. 
The  Americans  were  never  lacking  in  the  scholastic 
idea.  One  of  the  main  motives  back  of  Jefferson's  action  in 
establishing  the  University  of  Virginia  was  the  hope  of  de- 
veloping a  national  character  by  means  of  a  cosmopolitan 
scheme  of  education."      As     a     foundation     underlying     all 

12  Franz  Joseph  Grund  (1798—1863)  came  to  America  in  1825  or 
1826.  In  1833  he  wrote  a  book  entitled  Algebraic  Problems,  from  whose 
publication  dates  the  introduction  of  algebra  into  the  American  High 
Schools.  In  addition  to  this  book  he  also  wrote  a  Plain  and  Solid 
Geometry,  an  Elements  of  Astronomy,  a  Natural  Philosophy,  and  an 
Advanced  Mathematics.  After  a  ten  years'  residence  in  Boston  pre- 
ceded by  a  two  years'  residence  in  New  York  and  Philadelphia,  he  wrote 
his  The  Americans  in  their  Moral,  Social,  and  Political  Relations. 
In  speaking  of  this  book  the  American  Quarterly  Review  for  December 
1837  said :  "It  does  not  seem  to  have  been  the  intention  of  Mr. 
Grund  to  produce  merely  an  amusing  book,  in  which  the  piquant  foibles 
and  humorous  peculiarities  of  society  are  marked  and  noted,  nor  does 
he  appear  in  any  way  content  with  a  superficial  glance  at  things  around 

him he  writes  with  the  serious  purpose  of  disabusing  the  English 

public  and  of  conveying  true  information  of  the  country  and  people  of 
the  United  States.  The  work  contains  abundance  of  information  which, 
even  to  an  American,  would  be  eminently  useful."  For  a  period  of  over 
thirty  years  beginning  about  1830,  he  was  actively  engaged  in  journalism. 
During  Buchanan's  administration  he  was  consul  at  Havre.  He  is 
sometimes  called  the  Schurz  of  the  first  half  of  the  nineteenth  century. 
Cf.  Rattermann,  vol.  x.  p.  70  ff. 

13  The  idea  of  establishing  a  "federal  university"  for  the  purpose  of 
"preparing  the  people  of  the  United  States  for  our  new  form  of  Govern- 
ment by  an  education  adapted  to  the  new  and  peculiar  situation  of  our 

^  17  — 


subjects  the  scientific  and  critical  point  of  view  was  to  be  in- 
troduced, the  lack  of  which,  as  will  be  noticed  later,  seemed  to 
German  students  one  of  the  weaknesses  in  American  education. 
His  plans  were  like  the  preliminary  drawings  of  a  great  artist. 
Even  in  their  undeveloped  state  they  indicated  a  remarkable  ap- 
preciation of  the  university  idea  which  had  given  western  Euro- 
pean education  such  superiority  over  all  other  of  the  world's 
systems.  Jefferson's  ideal  was  so  thoroughly  European  that  he 
even  harbored  for  a  time  the  idea  of  transplanting  the  entire 
teaching  corps  from  the  College  of  Geneva  to  America ;  for 
this  faculty,  which  had  become  dissatisfied  with  its  political 
environment,  had  written  to  him  saying  that  they  were  willing 
to  come  to  Virginia  in  a  body  if  suitable  arrangements  could 
be  made.  This  proposal  (1794)  was  really  the  historical  origin 
of  his  project  for  a  great  university,  to  be  equipped  with  the 
best  scientific  talent  that  Europe  could  afford,  which,  strangely 
enough,  Jefferson  thought  was  at  that  time  centered  in 
Geneva.^^  He  appealed  to  Washington,  but  the  latter,  who 
wished  to  carry  out  his  own  ideas  of  a  federal  university,  op- 
posed the  plan.    Jefferson  laid  the  proposition  also  before  the 

country"  seems  to  go  back  to  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush,  the  eminent 
scientist  and  surgeon-general  in  the  Revolutionary  army,  who  had 
studied  at  several  European  universities  and  who  was  a  great 
admirer  of  German  civilization.  As  early  as  1788  he  published 
in  the  American  Museum  an  article  entitled  "A  plan  of  federal 
university"  in  which  he  says :  "Let  one  of  the  first  acts  of  the  new 
Congress  be,  to  establish  within  the  district  to  be  allotted  for  them, 
a  federal  university,  into  which  the  youth  of  the  United  States  shall 
be  received  in  the  colleges  of  their  respective  states.  In  this  university 
let  those  branches  of  literature  only  be  taught,  which  are  calculated 
to  prepare  our  youth  for  civil  and  public  life.  These  branches  should 
be  taught  by  means  of  lectures." 

Among  the  subjects  to  be  taught  at  this  university  he  mentions 
especially  the  German  and  French  languages.  He  says :  "The  many 
excellent  books  which  are  written  in  both  these  languages,  upon  all 
subjects,  more  especially  upon  those  which  relate  to  the  advancement 
of  national  improvement  of  all  kinds,  will  render  a  knowledge  of  them 
an  essential  part  of  the  education  of  a  legislator  of  the  United  States." 

^*  Cf.  "Thomas  Jefferson  and  the  University  of  Virginia"  U.  S.  Bu- 
reau of  Education,  Circular  of  Information  No.  2,  1888,  p.  45. 

—  18  — 


state  legislature  but  the  practical  Virginians  thought  the  plan 
too  expensive.  However,  the  advanced  ideas  of  the  third  presi- 
dent, although  not  fulfilled  in  this  matter,  had  a  quickening  in- 
fluence on  Ticknor,  a  close  personal  friend,  and  through  him 
upon  the  whole  method  of  instruction  at  Harvard.  Ticknor 
received  a  call  to  Virginia  in  1820,  but  continued  at  Harvard 
until  1835,  when  his  resignation  was  forced  by  stubborn  op- 
position to  just  such  reforms  as  would  have  reorganized  the 
northern  college  in  accordance  with  the  principles  of  university 
education  laid  down  by  Jefferson. ^^ 

Perhaps  the  chief  point  of  weakness  in  American  education 
at  that  time  was  the  general  disregard  for  scholarship  by  a  dem- 
ocracy whose  highest  ideal  seemed  the  accumulation  of  wealth. 
Dr.  Brauns,  a  highly  cultured  German  theologian  who  lived 
in  America  for  years,  says  that  very  few  if  any  of  the  American 
academies  and  universities  were  liberal  enough  to  allow  their 
professors  to  turn  to  the  service  of  scientific  research  their 
talent,  inclination,  and  independent  thought^®  Moreover,  the 
recompense  given  them  was  scarcely  greater  than  that  allowed 
a  day-laborer. 

Grund  quotes  and  emphasizes  the  following  statement  ^'^ 
from  an  "Annual  Report  of  the  Superintendent  of  Schools  of 
the  State  of  New  York,  1835" :  "The  main  cause  which  re- 
tards the  advancement  of  our  educational  system  is  the  meager 
wage  of  the  teachers As  long  as  the  salary  of  a  teach- 
er is  no  higher  than  that  of  the  manual  laborer  we  cannot  ex- 
pect to  attract  scholars  of  talent  and  ability  to  our  schools. 

1^  The  main  points  of  Jefferson's  plan  for  a  university  were:  1. 
There  should  be  no  prescribed  curriculum  laid  down  for  all  students. 
2.  Specialization  should  be  introduced.  3.  The  elective  system  should 
be  used.  4.  Discipline  should  be  reduced  to  a  minimum.  The  reforms 
proposed  by  Ticknor  were :  1.  Students  should  be  admitted  even  if 
they  were  not  candidates  for  a  degree.  2.  The  instruction  should  be 
divided  into  departments  with  a  head  of  each  department.  3.  The 
elective  system  should  be  introduced.  (Cf.  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Education, 
Circular  of  Information  No.  2). 

1^  Brauns,  Ideen  ilher  die  Auswanderung  nach  Amerika,  1827,  p.  686. 

1^  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  121. 

—  19  — 


Low  salaries  have  filled  our  schools  with  incompetent  teachers 
whose  methods  have  lowered  the  level  of  all  knowledge  to  their 
own  teaching."  To  the  same  effect  Brauns  quotes  Bristed,  a 
British  scholar  who  came  to  America  to  study  American  re- 
sources and  later  became  a  citizen  of  the  United  States*. 
"Wealth,  that  is  truly  the  great  social  virtue  even  as  poverty  is 
an  unpardonable  sin.  In  no  land  of  the  earth  must  the  poor 
scholar  bow  before  the  gates  of  wealth  in  more  slavish  hu- 
mility than  in  our  free  and  independent  Republic."  ^^  Com- 
menting on  this,  Brauns  says,  "Let  not  the  scholar  forget  that 
farmers,  manufacturers,  and  merchants  are  really  the  three 
main  and  privileged  classes  of  American  society."  ^^  In  ad- 
dition to  pointing  out  that  low  salaries  necessarily  entailed  a 
dearth  of  teachers  Bristed,  as  well  as  our  German  critics,  re- 
minds us  that  those  scholarly  professors  whom  we  do  have  in 
our  schools  have  a  limit  placed  on  their  time  and  energy  by 
their  great  burden  of  purely  routine  duties.-"  One  of  Tick- 
nor's  great  reforms  was  a  division  of  the  faculty  into  depart- 
ments, with  departmental  heads,  and  sufficient  assistants  to 
make  research  and  original  production  possible.  This  was  one 
of  his  proposals  that  was  most  stubbornly  resisted.  In  de- 
fending it  Jefferson  said,  "Professorships  must  be  subdivided 
from  time  to  time  as  our  means  increase,  until  each  professor 
shall  have  no  more  under  his  care  than  he  can  attend  to  with 
advantage  to  his  pupils  and  ease  to  himself."  -^ 

Almost  all  foreign  students  of  American  education  were 
agreed  on  the  excellence  of  American  elementary  training. 
Brauns  was  especially  impressed  with  the  almost  universal 
extension  of  the  rudiments  of  education.  —  The  middle  schools, 
however,  as  Koerner  remarked,  were  rather  for  the  purpose  of 

^^  Brauns,  Ideen,  p.  697.  Also  Bristed,  Die  Hilfsquellen  der  Ver- 
einigten  Stoat  en  Amerikas,  Weimar  1819,  p.  686. 

i»  Brauns,  Ideen,  p.  697. 

20  Bristed,  Hilfsquellen,  p.  428. 

-^  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Education,  Circular  of  Information  No.  b, 
p.  64. 

--  Brauns,  Ideen,  p.  433. 

—  20  — 


private  gain  than  of  popular  instruction.-^  Parents,  generally, 
were  not  yet  impressed  with  the  necessity  of  educating  their 
children  beyond  the  elementary  grades.  But,  as  Dr.  De  Wette, 
the  brother  of  Professor  Karl  Beck  of  Harvard,  said,  after  his 
visit  to  America  in  1826,  the  American  youths  were  wonder- 
fully persevering  and  diligent.  One  of  the  chief  expressions 
of  this  diligence  was  the  zeal  with  which  they  took  up  the  study 
of  the  German  language  and  literature,  very  little  opportunity 
for  the  pursuit  of  which  was  offered  at  the  American  universi- 
ties. Even  private  tutors  were  not  plentiful ;  and  many  students, 
therefore,  took  up  the  study  by  themselves  with  no  other  help 
than  a  dictionary  and  a  few  pieces  of  German  literature,  of 
which  Goethe's  and  Schiller's  works  were  perhaps  the  most 
popular.  Imagine  the  American  youth  of  today  obtaining  the 
rudiments  of  German  through  a  translation  of  Wallenstein ! 
Later  this  method  was  no  longer  necessary,  for  many  of  the 
professors  at  Andover,  Harvard,  Yale,  Dartmouth,  and  else- 
where went  to  Germany  and  mastered  the  German  language 
for  purposes  of  instruction  at  home.  It  should  be  noted  here 
that  this  zeal  for  acquiring  German  was  prompted  not  by  a 
mere  hope  of  understanding  its  forms,  but  by  an  earnest  de- 
sire to  gain  entrance  to  the  treasures  of  German  thought. 

Another  significant  point  to  come  under  the  notice  of  the 
German  observers  of  American  culture  was  what  they  con- 
sidered a  deplorable  rarity  of  interest  in  science.  While  Grund 
did  not  deny  the  existence  of  a  spirit  of  scientific  inquiry,  as 
Koerner  came  so  near  doing,  he  did  say  that  it  had  few  mani- 
festations beyond  the  information  contained  in  elementary 
texts.^*  The  one  science  in  which  the  Americans  had  made 
slightly  more  progress  was  mathematics,  and  he,  probably 
better  than  any  other  foreign  writer,  could  judge  this  be- 
cause he  had  written  several  university  texts  in  mathe- 
matics and  other  sciences.  The  Germans  placed  especial 
emphasis  on  science  and  scientific  research,  for  to  them  science 
was  eternal  even  as  truth  was  eternal.    "Monarchs  may  pro- 

23  Koerner,  Beleuchtung,  p.  46. 

24  Cf.  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  1837,  p.  105. 

—  21  — 


tect  the  arts,  republics  must  honor  the  sciences",'^  said  Grund. 
The  search  for  truth  would  alone  establish,  in  their  estimation, 
an  enduring  national  prosperity.  It  cannot  be  denied  that  the 
stern,  narrow  views  of  the  early  American  settlers  in  religion 
and  politics  retarded  all  progress  in  art  and  science,  and  this 
despite  the  great  number  of  universities,  colleges,  and  semi- 
naries.-*^ Brauns  quotes  Walsh, -^  an  American  scholar,  as 
saying,  "A  liberal  education  under  which  a  systematic  grasp 
of  science  and  classical  literature  is  understood,  is  almost  en- 
tirely lacking  in  America."  -^  Aside  from  a  few  minor  dis- 
coveries and  inventions  in  physics  and  nautical  technique, 
purely  practical  in  nature,  America  had  made  no  advance  in 
the  field  of  science.-^  This,  at  least,  was  the  view  of  the  more 
radical  Koerner,  who  continued  to  say,  "Indeed,  I  am  not  the 
first  to  be  impressed  by  the  lack  of  genuine  scientific  education, 
and  the  manifold  pleasures  which  are  brought  about  by  the 
closer  intercourse  of  highly  cultured  and  educated  men."  "'^ 

If,  as  Grund  says,  imagination  is  the  soul  of  artistic  pro- 
duction, we  have  an  explanation  for  the  decided  deficiency  in 
America ;  for  we  do  not  need  Koerner,  nor  Grund,  nor  Julius^^ 
to  tell  us  of  the  neglect  of  the  imagination  in  the  American 
people.  Even  Cooper,  as  Koerner  truly  says,  one  of  the  best 
early  American  writers,  and  beside  Longfellow,  perhaps  the  most 
representative  figure  in  American  hterature,  excels  only  in 
description,  and  not  in  such  work  as  requires  an  active  and  fer- 

25  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  80. 
-®  Koerner,  Beleuchiung,  p.  51. 

27  Walsh  was  the  original  editor  of  the  American  Register  in  1817 — 
18.  In  1827  he  revived  the  North  American  Review,  and  continued  as 
its  editor  until  1837. 

28  Brauns,  Ideen,  p.  685. 

29  Koerner,  Beleuchtung,  p.  47 

30  Ibidem,  p.  47. 

°i  N.  H.  Julius  (1783 — 1862)  a  physician  and  student  of  sociology 
especially  criminology.  He  made  one  of  the  first  and  most  extensive 
statistical  studies  in  criminology  in  America. 

—  22  — 


tile  creative  power.^^  This  lack  of  imagination,  Julius  feels,^^ 
accounts  for  the  almost  cruel  way  in  which  the  Americans  have 
discarded  the  old  musical  and  resonant  Indian  names  of  towns, 
rivers,  and  mountains,  and  substituted  in  their  place  the  harsher 
sounding  Roman,  Grecian,  German,  English,  and  even  Egyp- 
tian names.  Besides  a  recognized  lack  of  imagination 
Brauns  discovers  other  causes  which  have  retarded  the  de- 
velopment of  art  and  literature.  These  he  considers  under  four 
heads ;  first,  the  comparative  ease  with  which  wealth  and  prom- 
inence are  attained  through  other  channels  than  literature  or 
art;  second,  the  hardships  of  early  settlement;  third,  our  own 
Revolution ;  and  fourth,  the  French  Revolution,  which  inclined 
the  Americans  more  toward  a  zeal  for  gain,  military  glory, 
and  political  fame,  than  to  the  less  strenuous  pleasures  and 
benefits  of  literature  and  art.  In  addition  to  these  causes,  De 
Wette,  with  others,  attributes  the  retardation  of  a  nationally 
independent  literature  for  America  to  the  constant  intercourse 
with  Europe;  or,  as  Grund  puts  it,  to  the  fact  that  a  gigantic 
conglomeration,  such  as  America  is,  cannot  produce  a  national 
Hterature.-^*  Again,  Brauns  adds  as  a  further  cause  a  lack  of 
concentration,  due,  he  believes,  to  an  overbalancing  tendency 
toward  newspapers,  magazines,  and  pohtical  pamphlets."^  As 
a  people  the  Americans  read  more  than  any  other  nation  in  the 
world ;  indeed  Grund  goes  so  far  as  to  say  that  the  Americans 
read  more  books  and  magazines  each  year  than  the  English, 
French,  and  Germans  together.^'*  John  Bristed,  after  a  careful 
study  of  American  culture,  remarks  also  on  the  shallowness 
of  American  writings  which  seemed,  for  the  most  part,  confined 
to  newspaper  articles  and  political  pamphlets.^^ 

Concentration  presupposes  a  calm  philosophical  point  of 
view.  The  lack  of  this  was  more  noticeable,  probably,  in 
America's  historical  productions  than  elsewhere  in  the  field  of 

32  Cooper  was  more  highly  esteemed  in  Germany  than  in  America. 

33  Julius,  Nordamei'ikas  sittliche  Zustdnde,  1834 — 36,  p.  420.    • 
3*  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  98. 

35  Cf.  Brauns,  Ideen,  p.  681  fif. 

36  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  104. 
3T  Bristed  Die  Hilfsquellen,  p.  685. 

—  23  — 


her  literature.  Led  astray  by  hyper-enthusiastic  patriotism, 
Americans  inclined  too  much  toward  biographies.  Even  Jared 
Sparks  and  George  Bancroft,  two  historians  who  deserve  great 
praise,  were  unable  to  take  a  dispassionate  view  of  America's 
historical  development, — the  only  view,  indeed,  which  is  able 
to  unite  the  life  of  the  states  with  the  course  of  human  develop- 
ment. Up  to  1837,  in  Gnmd's  estimation.  Marshal's  Biography 
of  George  Washington  was  the  best  history  of  the  United 
States.^^ 

So  far  it  would  seem  that  this  lack  of  imagination  affected 
only  the  literary  productions.  Koerner's  rather  bold  remark, 
however,  that  in  the  field  of  art  the  Americans  were  half  bar- 
barians,^® reveals  the  fact  that  the  lack  of  imagination  extended 
beyond  the  realm  of  literature.  As  yet  whatever  America  pos- 
sessed of  art  was  not  original  but  of  foreign  adoption.  There 
were,  of  course,  individual  artists  but  there  was  no  artistic 
atmosphere,  no  collective  "art-life."  **'     Even  the  foremost  of 

38  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  106    See  also  Pancoast,  p  253. 

39  Koerner,  Beleuchtung,  p.  52. 

*°  The  following  passage  from  Henry  James'  "A  small  Boy  and 
others"  shows  how  he  felt  this  lack  of  artistic  atmosphere  in  America 
during  his  boyhood.  Speaking  of  his  hunger  for  art  he  says  (p. 
264  ff )  :      "Wasn't  the   very   bareness    of   the   field    itself   moreover  a 

challenge,  in  a  degree,  to  design? Afterwards,  on  other  ground 

and  in  richer  air  [in  Europe]  the  challenge  was  in  the  fulness  and 
not  in  the  bareness  of  aspects,  with  their  natural  result  of  hunger  ap- 
peased ;  exhibitions,  illustrations  abounded  in  Paris  and  London — the 
reflected  image  hung  everywhere  about;  so  that  if  there  we  daubed  a- 
fresh  and  with  more  confidence  it  was  not  because  no  one  but  because 

every  one  did In  Europe  we  knew  there  was  Art;  just  as  there 

were  soldiers  and  lodgings  and  concierges  and  little  boys  in  the 
street  etc." 

"The  Diisseldorf  school  commanded  the  market,  and  I  think  of  its 

exhibitions   as   firmly  seated,  going   on   from   year  to  year No 

impression  here,  however,  was  half  so  momentous  as  that  of  the  epoch- 
making  masterpiece  of  Mr.  Teutze,  which  showed  us  Washington 
crossing  the  Delaware." 

Emanuel  Leutze,  the  German-American  painter,  was  born  at 
Gmiind,  Wiirttemberg.  He  came  to  America  in  his  early  youth  but  re- 
turned to  Germany  in  1841  to  study  at  Dusseldorf  under  K.  F.  Lessing. 
In  1859  he  was  called  back  to  America  by  the  federal  government  in 
order  to  decorate  the  Capitol  at  Washington. 

—  24  — 


early  American  painters  such  as  Benj.  West  and  J.  S.  Copley 
were  more  English  than  American  in  character.  It  is  a  signifi- 
cant fact  that  West's  famous  picture  'Death  of  General  Wolfe' 
was  painted  in  England.  However,  Grund  believed  that  the 
Americans  possessed  sufficient  talent  both  in  drawing  and 
painting  to  make  a  truly  national  art  a  future  possibility.*^ 
That  the  Americans  did  not  possess  any  real  love  or  passion 
for  true  art,  a  fact  which  Koerner  deplored,  was  due,  no  doubt, 
in  large  measure  to  the  lack  of  the  numerous  galleries  and  col- 
lections of  art  treasures  with  which  Europe  was  blessed. 
But  despite  this  lack  we  must  agree,  I  believe,  with 
Koerner,  when  he  says  that  if  gloomy  religious  views  re- 
tarded science  they  worked  even  more  negatively  against  the 
development  of  art,'*^  Music  and  painting  were  completely  in 
the  service  of  the  church.  If  some  art  lover  succeeded  in  trans- 
porting a  work  of  art  across  the  Atlantic,  it  received  such  a 
poor  reception  that  the  hope  of  arousing  an  interest  which 
would  create  a  demand  for  such  work  was  shattered. 

Closely  allied  with  drawing  and  painting  were  music  and  the 
theater.  The  taste  for  music  was  slightly  more  developed  than 
for  tragedy  and  comedy,  Grund  tells  us,  but  as  yet  there  was 
no  American  talent.  Indeed,  Julius  goes  so  far  as  to  say  that 
the  Americans  at  that  time  were  virtually  lacking  in  the  musical 
sense  and  in  musical  voices.  Of  this  latter  deficiency  he  says, 
"In  the  whole  of  America,  during  a  visit  of  a  year  and  a  half, 
I  heard  a  single  beautiful  native  female  voice,  and  among  the 
men  none  at  all."  *^  The  lack  of  a  musical  sense,  he  thinks, 
may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  America  was  a  composite  nation 
and  not  a  racial  unit.  He  noticed  the  same  lack  in  England, 
also  a  composite  people  in  contrast  to  Scotland,  Ireland,  and 
Wales,  strictly  racial  unities.  The  lack  of  musical  voices,  no 
doubt,  could  be  attributed  to  frontier-life  as  well  as  to  the 
climate  and  its  almost  inconceivably  rapid  changes.  One  de- 
cided hindrance  to  the  development  of  the  theater,  as  well  as 

*i  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  74. 
*2  Koerner,  Beleuchtung,  p.  51. 
*3  Julius,  Nordamerikas  sittliche  Zustdndc,  p.  419. 

—  25  — 


its  hand-maiden  music,  was  the  stifHng  bonds  of  narrow 
orthodoxy  which  placed  the  enjoyment  of  the  stage  outside 
the  pale  of  respectabihty.  Many  churches  absolutely  forbade 
attendance  at  dramatic  performances  of  any  description.  Even 
at  the  present  time  we  have  not  broken  away  entirely  from  the 
effects  of  this  prejudice. 

This,  then,  was  the  atmosphere  into  which  Mrs.  Robinson 
came  in  1830,  an  atmosphere  pregnant  with  possibilities  and 
at  the  same  time  teeming  with  an  intense  desire  to  produce  and 
establish  a  national  culture.  German  influence,  as  we  have 
noticed,  was  having  a  major  share  in  the  process  of  develop- 
ment. In  the  follov/ing  chapters  I  shall  attempt  to  trace  the 
path  of  this  influence  as  represented  in  Mrs.  Robinson.  I  shall 
take  up  her  works  chronologically,  in  so  far  as  that  is  con- 
sistent with  their  grouping  in  subject  matter.  At  the  same  time 
I  shall  lay  especial  emphasis  on  the  various  individual  produc- 
tions most  directly  connected  with  contemporary  American 
events  or  development.  What  Gustav  Koerner  says  of  the 
German  element  in  America  in  general  fits  also  Mrs  Robinson 
and  thus  forms  a  most  appropriate  close  for  this  introductory 
chapter:  "Eine  deutsche  Nation  in  der  amerikanischen 
kann  sie  nicht  sein,  aber  den  reichen  Inhalt  ihres  Gemiitslebens, 
die  Schatze  ihrer  Gedankenwelt  kann  sie  im  Kampfe  fiir  die 
politischen  und  allgemeinen  menschhchen  Interessen  in  die 
Wagschale  werfen,  und  ihr  Einfluss  wird  um  so  tiefer  gehen, 
ein  um  so  grosseres  Feld  der  Beteiligung  sich  schaffen,  je 
weniger  tendenzios  sie  auftritt,  je  mehr  sie  aber  zugleich  an 
dem  fest  halt,  was  Deutschland  der  Welt  Schones  und  Grosses 
gegeben  hat."  ^* 

Chapter  I. 
Biography. 

The  names  of  Franz  Lieber,  Karl  Follen,  Karl  Beck,  Franz 
Joseph  Grund,  Gustav  Koerner,  all  men  of  commanding  ability, 
have  long  since  become  a  part  of  the  history  of  their  adopted 
country.    Many  more  men  whose  life  and  works  H.  A.  Ratter- 

*^  Koerner,  Das  deutsche  Blement,  p.  9. 

—  26  — 


mann  has  treated  in  his  recent  work  Biographicon  und  Dichter- 
Album,  will  also  eventually  find  a  permanent  place  in  the  cul- 
tural if  not  the  political  history  of  America.  To  this  list  of 
German-Americans  who  have  given  to  Americans  not  only  an 
interpretation  of  the  culture  of  their  fatherland,  but  also  the 
service  of  their  talent  and  their  personality  should  be  added 
also  the  name  of  Mrs.  Robinson. 

It  is  indeed  strange  that  this  has  not  been  recognized;  for 
her  field  of  labor  was  broad,  her  intellect  keen,  her  attitude 
toward  life  truly  sympathetic.  From  the  commencement  of  her 
active  career  in  1830,  to  the  year  1863,  when  she  returned  to 
Germany,  she  identified  her  energies  and  interests  with  those 
of  the  country  of  her  husband,  modestly  taking  a  part  in  the 
cultural  evolution  of  the  young  republic  through  a  number  of 
remarkable  literary  productions.  At  no  time  do'  we  find  her  in 
the  front  ranks  of  radical  reformers  and  reorganizers,  but  tact- 
fully and  imassumingly,  rather,  exerting  that  subtle  influence 
for  which  women  are  best  suited.  Her  method  of  making  her 
personality  felt  was  a  particularly  happy  one,  for  at  the  time  in 
which  she  lived — one  of  the  most  important  in  American  His* 
tory — current  opinion  in  regard  to  conditions  both  political  and 
social  was  in  a  comparatively  plastic  state,  but  none  the  less 
important.  With  politics  she  had  nothing  to  do;  for  while  most 
of  her  German  contemporaries,  coming  directly  from  the  ex- 
citement of  political  affairs  in  the  fatherland,  entered  similar 
fields  in  America,  she  remained  entirely  outside  of  this  field  of 
activity.  This  is  in  part  explained  by  the  fact  that  she  came 
from  the  quietness  of  the  Goethe  circle,  which  in  a  measure 
determined  the  character  of  her  work  in  the  land  of  her  adop- 
tion. Goethe,  it  may  be  said,  held  aloof  from  the  turmoil  and 
intensity  of  the  life  about  him,  quietly  spreading  his  influence 
through  the  brilliant  men  and  women  who  were  attracted  to 
his  intellectual  court.  This  was  especially  true  in  his  later 
life,  during  which  time  Mrs.  Robinson  became  personally  ac- 
quainted with  him. 

Grillparzer,  who  at  that  time  visited  Goethe,  draws  a 
very  charming  picture  of  her  in  his  Selbstbiographie:  "To- 
ward evening,"  he  writes,  'T  went  to  Goethe.     I  found  quite 

—  27  — 


a  large  company  gathered  in  the  drawing  room,  awaiting  the 
Herr  Geheimrat.  When  I  found  among  them  a  certain  Hof- 
rat  Jakob  or  Jakobs  with  his  daughter,  young  as  she  was 
beautiful,  and  beautiful  as  she  was  talented,  the  same  who 
later  entered  upon  a  literary  career  under  the  name  of  Talvj, 
I  lost  my  timidity,  and  in  my  conversation  with  this  most 
amiable  young  woman,  I  almost  forgot  that  I  was  at  the  home 
of  Goethe."  *^  The  description  of  Heloise,  drawn  by  Mrs. 
Robinson  in  her  novel  of  the  same  name,  presents  a  very  good 
picture  of  herself  and  of  the  position  she  deemed  suitable  and 
becoming  to  women :  "Now  only  did  Heloise  learn  to  know 
the  charm  of  intellectual,  inciting  conversation,  the  invaluable 
advantage  to  be  derived  from  hearing  the  interchange  of  ideas 
of  superior  minds.  Heloise,  eager  for  information  and  sus- 
ceptible of  improvement  as  she  was,  felt  deeply  grateful  to- 
ward Isabella  for  this  distinction.  The  conversation  turned  on 
subjects  taken  from  divers  departments,  belles-lettres,  philos- 
ophy, history,  political  economy,  but  above  all  the  great  ques- 
tions of  the  day.  On  all  these  Heloise  heard  persons  of  mind 
give  and  defend  their  views.  She  herself,  as  was  suitable  to 
her  youth  was  for  the  most  part  a  listener."**^  Mrs.  Robinson 
might  have  said,  "to  her  youth  and  her  sex" ;  for  she  felt  very 
strongly  the  propriety  of  the  tacit  attitude  of  woman  on  many 
questions  ordinarily  considered  as  a  part  of  a  man's  world.*' 

But,  as  we  have  said,  her  influence  was  none  the  less  real  for 
being  quiet  and  unobtrusive.  Despite  the  unpretentious  nature 
of  her  work,  no  one,  with  the  exception  of  Karl  Follen,  Franz 
Lieber  and  J.  B.  Stallo  has  so  significantly  brought  out  the  two 
chief  elements  of  the  American  nation,  the  English  and  the 
German.  By  her  study  of  the  folklore  of  the  various  nations 
and  especially  the  Teutonic  nations,  she  carried  the  American 
people  into  the  inner  life  of  the  Germans,  especially  into 
"Das  Gemiitvolle".  In  her  history  of  New  England,  written, 
according  to  her  own  introductory  remarks,  primarily  for  Ger- 

•*^  Grillparzer,  Sdmmtliche  Werke,  vol.  xv,  p.  145 — 4.  Auflage. 

*^  Talvj,  Heloise  chap.  ix.  , 

*^  The  Germans  more  that  any  other  nation  perhaps  felt  that 
woman's  sphere  was  in  the  home. 

—  28  — 


man  readers,  she  introduced  the  Germans  to  the  forces  which 
lay  at  the  foundation  of  the  estabHshment  of  a  free-thinking, 
free-acting  nation,  showing  how  internal  forces  of  minor  im- 
portance in  themselves  may  accomplish  all  things  when  united 
and  aimed  at  one  goal. 

Therese  Albertine  Louise  von  Jakob  was  born  January  26, 
1797,  the  youngest  daughter  of  the  political  scientist  and 
philosopher,  Heinrich  von  Jakob.  At  the  time  of  her  birth, 
her  father  was  professor  of  philosophy  at  the  University  of 
Halle.  When  Therese  was  nine  years  old  Napoleon's  devasta- 
tions shook  Germany  like  some  great  earthquake,  and  dis- 
organized society.  After  the  battle  of  Jena  her  father,  in  order 
to  avoid  army-service  at  a  moment  when  his  fatherland  was 
under  French  dominion,  accepted  a  call  to  a  professorship  in 
the  University  located  at  Charkow  a  small  town  in  the  southern 
part  of  Russia.  The  great  period  of  European  political  unrest 
that  drove  her  parent  to  this  voluntary  exile  from  Germany 
wrought  an  unusual  and  irresistible  influence  upon  the  daugh- 
ter; an  influence,  doubtless,  which  made  her  love  her  native 
land  far  more  intensely  than  would  have  been  the  case,  had  she 
grown  to  womanhood  surrounded  by  naught  but  its  tranquil 
culture.  In  1840  she  wrote  a  short  autobiographical  sketch  for 
the  Brockhausische  Conversations-Lexicon,  in  which  these 
words  illustrate  the  awakening  in  her  of  "das  deutsche  Gefiihl", 
together  with  what  she  considered  its  causes:  "The  strange, 
half-Asiatic,  half-European  circumstances  about  me  exercised 
a  decided  influence  upon  me.  They  and  the  yoke  of  oppression 
under  which  Germany  was  then  bending  and  laboring  awoke 
in  me,  very  early,  a  vivid  and  substantial  recognition  of  my 
better  self.  As  early  as  my  eleventh  year,  I  often  wept  for 
anger  and  grief  over  Germany's  misfortune.  Grief,  indeed, 
was  my  first  muse."  *^  Nothing,  it  seemed  in  after  years, 
had  ever  so  thoroughly  aroused  her  as  the  occasion  when  she 
heard,  for  the  first  time,  the  Russians  discussing  the  terrible 
distress  of  the  Germans.  She  heard  nothing  but  scorn  and 
mockery  for  Germany's  misfortune,  in  fact  for  everything 
that  was  German.     Her  thoroughly  aroused  emotions  found 

<8Talvj,  Gesatnmelte  Novellen,  p.  viii. 

—  29  — 


expression  in  poetry  which  in  tone  and  meter  resembled  that 
of  Schiller.  Even  as  a  child,  she  realized  how  much  richer 
the  German  life  was  than  the  Slavic.  She  felt  that  a  nation 
with  such  a  past  as  Germany's  would  glow  again  in  the  rays 
of  clear  sunrise. 

During  her  stay  of  three  years  in  Charkow  her  education, 
so  far  as  direct  instruction  was  concerned,  advanced  slowly. 
In  the  university  library,  however,  she  found,  among  other 
books,  Eschenburg's  B eispielsammlung  and  the  supplement  to 
Sulzer's  Theorie  der  schonen  Kiinste.  She  copied  both  of  these 
books,  ponderous  in  material  and  dimensions  as  they  are,  in 
their  entirety;  a  labor  of  stupendous  proportions  for  an  adult 
to  say  nothing  of  a  twelve-year-old  girl.  But  she  was  being 
mentally  starved  and  no  task  seemed  too  great  that  would 
provide  food  to  satisfy  her  intellectual  cravings. 

At  the  age  of  thirteen  she  accompanied  her  father  to  St. 
Petersburg,  whither  he  had  been  called  to  aid  in  the  revision  of 
the  Code  of  Criminal  Laws.  Here  even  the  slight  amount  of 
instruction  she  had  been  receiving  was  cut  off.  In  a  measure, 
however,  her  more  frequent  intercourse  with  people  and  events 
made  up  for  this  loss ;  but  the  ardent  longing  never  ceased. 
She  tells  us,  "The  inner  desire  remained,  however,  earnest  and 
full  of  yearning  after  something  which  the  life  about  me  did 
not  offer."*^  Her  interest  in  and  for  Germany  grew  apace.  She 
read  zealously  every  possible  scrap  of  information  about  it, 
devouring  in  particular  all  the  German  books  she  could  get 
hold  of,  books  which  from  time  to  time  found  their  way  into 
Russia  through  returning  officers.  In  order  to  give  assistance 
to  the  miserable  German  prisoners  brought  to  Russia  she  sold 
her  jewelry.  Removed  thus  from  the  fatherland,  it  was  only 
natural  that  she  should  form  an  exalted  image  of  Germany 
which  differed  very  radically  from  the  reality.  In  later  years, 
she  held  for  a  time  firmly,  almost  stubbornly  to  her  ideal ;  but 
at  last,  for  her  penetrating  mind  could  not  long  be  blinded  to 
real  conditions,  she  grew  ashamed,  laughed,  and  cast  from  her 
the  romantic  picture  she  had  formed  by  much  reading  of 
Fouque  and  Hoffmann.    She  so  realized  and  appreciated,  never- 

*®  Talvj,  Gesanimelte  Novellen,  p.  x. 

—  30  — 


theless,  the  depth,  the  richness,  and  the  spiritual  intensity  of  the 
German  character,  that  even  the  final  shattering  of  her  ideal 
never  brought  with  it  a  reaction  of  discouragement  or  despair. 
While  in  St.  Petersburg  she  became  extremely  lonesome,  and  as 
a  consequence  unusually  serious.  This  seriousness  never  left 
her,  though  at  no  time  did  it  make  her  an  uncomfortable  or  un- 
welcome member  of  any  social  gathering.  It  was  the  serious- 
ness of  a  rich  inner  life  whose  expression  was  hemmed  in  and 
limited  by  external  circumstances.  None  of  the  poems  which 
she  wrote  at  this  time  were  published  during  her  lifetime ; 
in  fact  it  is  quite  probable  that  she  destroyed  most  of  them, 
for  inasmuch  as  they  expressed  her  deepest  and  holiest  emo- 
tions, to  publish  them  would  have  been  a  profanation  of  her 
inmost  soul.  Several,  however,  were  preserved.  Among  them 
the  poem  "Sehnsucht,"  written  in  1813  and  brought  out  after 
her  death,  expresses  her  longing  to  return  to  Germany.  One 
verse  reads  as  follows : 

Ach,  wird  nie  dies  heisse  Sehnen, 
Nie  der  inn'ge  Wunsch  gestillt? 
Was  mein  hofifend  Herz  erfiillt, 
War  es  nur  ein  eitel  Wahnen? 

In  St.  Petersburg  she  had  greater  opportunity  to  satisfy 
her  craving  to  read.  This,  together  with  bits  of  conversation 
which  she  gathered  from  the  crowds  that  thronged  the  streets, 
aroused  in  her  a  deep  and  abiding  interest  in  popular  poetry. 
She  became  so  interested  in  Russian  popular  poetry  that  she 
would  steal  away  to  the  horse-markets,  and  concealing  herself 
near  the  crowds,  would  listen  to  their  songs.  In  order  to  be 
able  to  understand  them  and  appreciate  them  she  began  study- 
ing Russian,  a  pursuit  which  very  shortly  led  to  a  study  of 
Slavic  history  and  the  Slavic  language,  in  order  that  she  might 
be  able  to  translate  the  poetry  of  the  race.  Upon  her  return  to 
Germany  her  interest  in  languages  expanded  and  she  entered 
into  a  serious  attempt  to  gain  a  mastery  of  the  classical 
languages,  Anglo-Saxon,  Scandinavian,  and  English.  Later 
she  studied  French  and  Spanish. 

In  1816  she  returned  to  Germany,  and  her  dearest 
wish    was    thereby    fulfilled.      Her    reintroduction    to    the 

—  31  — 


the  real  Germany,  as  we  have  said  before,  shattered  her  ideal 
but  did  not  shake  her  love  or  faith.  In  this  glow  of  happiness 
in  her  new  environment,  the  first  eight  or  ten  years  were  the 
most  prosperous  of  her  life.  She  continued  to  write  poetry 
and  short  stories.  A  peculiar  unwillingness  to  publish  her 
works  asserted  itself  in  rather  an  interesting  way,  for  which 
her  excessive  modesty  alone  can  account.  Those  of  her  first 
poems  which  she  could  be  persuaded  to  share  with  the  public 
came  out  under  the  name  of  Reseda.  In  1821,  for  the  sake 
a  little  "pin-money",  and,  if  we  may  credit  her  own  words, 
quite  against  her  own  inclination,  she  translated  two  of  Sir 
Walter  Scott's  novels.  Old  Mortality  and  Black  Dwarf.  These 
were  signed  Ernst  Berthold.  In  1822,  in  the  Literarisches  Kon- 
vcrsationsblatt  appeared  three  articles  of  a  critical  nature, 
signed  "Briefe  eines  Frauenzimmers".  Finally,  in  1825  she 
coined  for  herself  a  name  which  remained  her  nom-de-plume 
for  the  rest  of  her  life.  Using  the  initial  letters  of  her  full 
name,  Therese  Albertine  Louise  von  Jakob,  she  coined  the 
rather  odd  but  attractive  name  Talvj,  in  which  the  j  has  its 
original  function  as  an  i.  This  name  she  first  signed  to  a  little 
book  of  three  short  stories,  which  she  called  Psyche,  Bin 
Taschenbuch  fiir  das  Jahr  i82j.  As  late  as  1840  she  wrote  to 
a  relative,  "I  will  not  deny  that  I  have  a  strong  aversion 
to  any  publication  whatsoever  of  my  own  productions.  The 
fact,  that  I  had  never  written  under  my  own  name,  justified 
me,  I  felt,  in  separating  all  that  pertained  to  Therese  Robin- 
son, formerly  Therese  von  Jakob,  entirely  from  Talvj.  I  see, 
however,  that  sooner  or  later  the  two  names  will  be  identified 
without  my  being  able  to  prevent  it,  and  so  I  prefer  to  let  my- 
self be  known  rather  than  be  the  subject  of  gossip  in  those 
'Woman's  Clubs'.^"  For  a  long  time  Talvj  was  thought  to  be 
a  man.  Especially  after  her  interest  in  the  American  Indian 
became  known,  Mr.  Talvj  became  a  name  of  great  concern  in 
English  literature  and  men  fairly  broke  their  heads  to  discover 
the  owner  of  it. 

In  1823,  while  Talvj  was  immersed  in  grief  over  the  loss 
of  a  dearly  beloved  sister,  the  first  sorrow  in  her  life,  her 

^^  Loeher,  Beitr'dge  fiir  Geschichte  und  Volkerkunde. 

—  32  — 


eye  fortuitously  fell  upon  a  copy  of  Jakob  Grimm's  criticism  of 
Servian  folk  song.  It  caught  her  attention  and  suggested  a 
means  to  her  by  which  she  might  lessen  the  sting  of  her  sor- 
row. Hard  work  was  ever  a  means  to  her  of  forgetting  sorrow 
and  distress.  In  speaking  to  Jakob  Grimm  of  leaving  Germany 
to  take  up  her  new  home  in  America  she  said,  "This  sacrifice, 
too,  belongs  to  the  least  which  I  am  making,  inasmuch  as  the 
literary  activity  into  which  I  have  thrown  myself,  in  so  far  as 
it  was  productive,  never  meant  anything  more  to  me  than  a 
meager  solace  for  bitter  loss."  °^  Her  cousin  said  of  her  also, 
"My  poor  cousin  finds  her  consolation  for  many  distressing 
circumstances  in  such  literary  activity."  '^  By  the  aid  of  the 
young  Servian  Wuk  Stephan  Karadschitsch  and  her  own  untir- 
ing effort  and  mental  alertness  she  soon  made  good  her  decision 
to  study  Servian  by  achieving  a  sound  working  mastery  of  its 
forms.  Into  the  very  atmosphere  of  these  strange  national 
songs  which  seemed  to  possess  a  Grecian  charm  for  her,  she 
"lived,  thought,  and  steeped  herself."  ^^  Her  work  in  this  con- 
nection will  be  more  amply  touched  upon  hereafter ;  suffice  it  to 
say  here,  the  work  she  accomplished  with  these  songs  won  for 
her  the  life  long  friendship  of  Goethe,  as  well  as  that  of  Jakob 
Grimm  and  many  other  prominent  literary  men. 

In  the  summer  of  1826  Professor  Edward  Robinson  came 
to  Halle  to  study  the  language  and  literature  of  the  Orient 
under  Gesenius,  through  whom  Halle's  theological  school  had 
become  the  most  famous  in  Germany,  Roediger,  an  exceptional 
student  in  oriental  languages  first  at  Halle  and  later  at  Berlin, 
Tholuk  the  pietist,  and  others.  His  acquaintance  in  the  home  of 
Professor  von  Jakob  led  to  friendship  and  ultimate  marriage 
with  Fraulein  Therese,  in  August  of  1828.  A  few  words  other 
than  what  has  been  said  in  the  Introduction  about  Robin- 
son will  show  not  merely  the  significance  of  Talvj's  relations 
with  him  but  also  the  significance  of  German  influence  on 
America's  great  scholars.    He  was  born  in  Southington,  Con- 

21  Preussische  Jahrbiicher,  vol.  Ixxvi  p.  357. 
^^  Preussische  Jahrbiicher,  vol.  Ixxvi,  p.  357. 

S3  Franz  von  Loher,  Beilage  sur  Allgemeinen  Zeitung,  den  9.  und 
10  Juni,  1870. 

—  33  — 


necticnt  in  1794,  the  son  of  a  Congregational  minister.  As 
a  youth  he  enjoyed  a  liberal  education,  which  later  he  im- 
proved by  much  travel  and  study  in  other  lands.  Previous 
to  his  residence  at  the  University  of  Halle  in  1826,  he  had 
assisted  Moses  Stuart  in  publishing  the  second  edition  of  the 
latter's  Hebrew  Grammar,  and  through  Stuart  had  been  ap- 
pointed to  an  instructorship  in  Hebrew  at  Andover  Semi- 
nary, where,  in  collaboration  with  his  patron,  he  translated 
Wiener's  Grammar  of  the  Neiv  Testament;  and  alone,  Wahl's 
Clavis  Philologica  Novi  Testamenti.  Then  he  went  to  Halle. 
At  the  time  of  his  death  he  was  recognized  as  the  greatest 
authority  in  the  field  of  Biblical  Topography,  having  received, 
among  other  honors,  a  gold  medal  from  the  Royal  Geographi- 
cal Society  of  England. 

His  attitude  toward  research  was  in  every  way  a  counter- 
part of  his  wife's.  The  Reverend  Thomas  Skinner,  who 
preached  his  funeral  service,  said  of  him,  "No  one's  observa- 
tion was  more  searching,  minute,  and  accurate;  he  looked  at 
everything  in  its  bearing  on  the  true,  the  useful,  the  good ;  he 
surveyed  most  exactly  everything  of  real  importance  in  the 
field  which  his  mind  was  to  traverse,  instinctively  rejecting 
what  was  of  no  consequence  to  his  object,  making  the  best 

use  of  everything  which  properly  belonged  to  it His 

aim  was  not  victory  but  truth He  found  in  his  family 

uimsual  sympathies  with  himself  as  a  man  of  letters  and  in- 
tellectual pursuits.  His  wife  was  entirely  competent  to  take 
the  liveliest  interest  in  his  learned  labors."  "  It  it  very  signifi- 
cant of  his  character  that  during  this  first  half  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  he  with  others  sought  to  become  acquainted 
with  the  spirit  of  German  thought  and  teaching.  In  the  first 
part  of  the  century  it  meant  a  great  deal  more  for  Americans 
to  seek  the  German  universities  than  it  did  later.  It  was  not  a 
fad;  it  was  an  honest  pursuit  of  a  higher  intellectual  life. 
And  it  was  of  great  significance  that  even  theologians  began 
to  visit  the  German  universities,  the  seats  of  rationalism  in 
religious  thought  and  life.  The  necessity  of  an  introduction 
of  Germany's  scholarship  into  America  must  have  made  a  deep 

5*  The  Evangelist,  Feb.  5,  1863. 

—  34  — 


impression  upon  Robinson,  for  upon  his  return,  as  we  have 
seen,  he  began  the  pubhcation  of  the  Biblical  Repository,  which 
at  once  became  the  chief  exponent  of  German  theological  and 
philosophical  thought.  His  wife  proved  of  the  utmost  assist- 
ance to  him  in  interpreting  and  translating  many  of  the  German 
contributions  to  the  magazine. 

It  was  hard  for  Talvj  to  decide  to  leave  Germany,  for  in 
so  doing  she  was  abandoning  a  circle  of  the  highest  culture  and 
refinement,  and  circumstances  in  which  she  was  able  to  pursue, 
unhampered,  the  studies  she  most  enjoyed.  In  a  letter  to  Jakob 
Grimm,  in  which  she  introduced  Edward  Robinson  to  him,  she 
said,  "I  do  not  deny  that  it  has  cost  me  a  long  and  bitter 
struggle,  and  that  even  now  I  think  I  have  not  overcome  either 
the  pain  of  separation  from  all  that  has  been  dear  to  me,  or 

the  pain  over  the  loss  of  my  beloved  mother-tongue 

it  seems  to  me  as  if  all  that  pertains  to  my  fatherland  is  again 
as  precious,  since  I  have  made  my  decision."  ^°  An  awaken- 
ing literary  jealousy  of  her  work,  finding  vent  in  literar}' 
criticism  that  was  at  times  spiteful,  did  much,  however,  to  re- 
concile her  to  leaving  Germany.  Some  criticised  her  for  not 
writing  in  Latin,  claiming  that  the  use  of  the  vernacular  de- 
tracted in  a  measure  from  the  scholarliness  of  her  work.  Her 
intellectual  strength,  which  gained  not  only  the  respect  but  al- 
so the  admiration  and  approval  of  some  of  Germany's  great- 
est men,  aroused  the  envy  of  less  gifted  women.  Loeher 
remarks :  "The  women  said  one  could  hear  the  scratch,  scratch 
of  her  pen  throughout  the  whole  town ;  and  this  pen  was  in 
the  hands  of  a  young  woman  of  less  than  thirty  years,  upon 
whom  noted  men  even  lavished  approving  words  of  praise."  ^"^ 
The  hopeless  political  conditions  following  the  Wars  of 
Liberation  seemed,  moreover,  to  annihilate  all  her  hopes  for 
Germany's  future.  Besides,  the  closest  ties  which  bound  her 
to  her  fatherland  were  broken  by  the  death  of  her  beloved 
parents;  her  father's  in  1827  at  Lauchstedt,  her  mother's  in 
1828  presumably  at  Halle.  Although  she  became  the  wife  of 
Edward  Robinson  in  August,  1828,  they  did  not  go  to  America 
until  to  years  later.    During  only  a  portion  of  these  intervening 

55  Preussische  Jahrhucher,  vol.  Ixxvi  p.  357. 

—  35  — 


two  years  they  remained  in  Halle,  for  they  spent  an  autumn  in 
Switzerland,  a  winter  in  Paris,  and  a  summer  in  Italy.  In  other 
ways,  too,  they  were  eventful.  During  the  seven  years  preceding 
her  coming  to  America  she  had  lost  a  brother,  a  sister,  and  both 
parents.  She  felt  her  loss  deeply  when  she  said,  "For  seven 
years  shock  after  shock  has  come  to  me,  and  even  if  I  now  pos- 
sess new  conditions  of  tenderest  love,  it  seems,  nevertheless, 
as  if  all  of  my  memories  lie  buried."  ^^ 

Her  first  home  in  America  was  in  Andover,  where  Edward 
Robinson  now  occupied  the  chair  of  Biblical  Literature  at  the 
Andover  Seminary.  She  did  not  quickly  adjust  herself  to  her 
new  surroundings  for  political  and  religious  interests  held 
sway  in  all  companies ;  and  she  withdrew  for  a  time  to  her 
own  family  circle  and  lived  for  it  alone.  Gradually,  however, 
she  began  to  find  leisure  again  for  literary  investigation  and 
soon,  by  her  interest  in  America,  in  its  industry,  its  history, 
its  natives,  its  language,  and  its  literature,  she  formed  a  link, 
as  it  were,  between  German  and  American  culture.  She 
brought  from  her  native  land  the  idea  of  universality,  and 
in  all  the  articles  and  reviews  written  during  her  life  here,  it 
was  one  which  she  emphasized  prominently.  She  worked 
as  few  other  writers  have  done  for  the  adjustment  of  the  two 
languages,  German  and  English.  Jakob  Grimm  foresaw  her 
power  to  do  this  for  in  a  letter  written  to  her  just  before  she 
sailed,  he  spoke  of  the  valuable  benefits  to  be  derived  from  a 
more  intimate  relation  to  the  English  literature  in  which  she 
would  soon  find  herself.  Unnoticed  but  with  efifect  she  labored 
always  to  inculcate  respect  for  the  German  name  in  the  new 
world ;  wherever  she  could  she  urged  young  Americans  to 
study  at  the  German  universities ;  and  she  used  her  influence 
always  to  find  for  German  fugitives,  invariably  men  of  edu- 
cation, positions  as  teachers.'"^  With  an  interest  and  mental 
energy  peculiar  to  her,  she  began  very  shortly  after  her  ar- 
rival in  America,  a  study  of  the  Indian,  transferring,  as  it  were, 
her  scientific  investigation  and  study  to  the  red  race  from  the 

^"^  Preussische  Jahrbiicher,  vol.  Ixxvi,  p.  359. 
■^  Franz  von  Loher,  Beilage  z.  A.  Zeitung. 
08  Idea   from   Loher. 

—  36  — 


Servian.  She  saw  in  the  life  and  customs  of  all  original  peoples 
the  seed  of  present  growth  and  the  plant  of  future  develop- 
ment. She  perceived  behind  the  painted  and  savage  exterior, 
the  real  man.  She  realized,  as  many  of  us  do  not,  that  in  order 
to  penetrate  to  the  real  motives  and  ambitions  of  a  people,  we 
must  seek  them  in  its  language,  for  language  is  the  outgrowth 
and  development  of  the  life  of  a  people,  and  not  a  mere  arti- 
ficial commodity  made  to  the  order  of  its  convenience  or 
necessities. 

In  1831  Edward  Robinson  established  the  Biblical  Reposi- 
tory, to  which  during  the  first  four  years  he  was  the  chief 
contributor.  Mrs.  Robinson's  first  resumption  of  literary  work 
took  the  form  of  contributions  to  this  magazine.  In  speaking 
of  her  papers  in  the  Repository,  which  were  collected  and 
translated  by  C.  von  Olberg  in  1837,  Jakob  Grimm  said,  "It 
is  a  work  which  bears  the  stamp  of  strong  fundamental  know- 
ledge." 

In  1833  they  moved  to  Boston,  where  she  helped  her  hus- 
band with  the  publication  of  a  Lexicon  of  the  Greek  Testa- 
ment. Here  she  became  acquainted  with  Karl  Follen  and  his 
talented  wife,  to  whom  she  has  testified  her  gratitude  for  the 
inspiration  of  a  renewed  interest  in  philological  studies.  Her 
extensive  linguistic  ability  made  her  peculiarly  fitted  to  carry 
out  a  piece  of  work  Follen  had  previously  considered — the  in- 
troduction of  German  popular  poetry  into  America ;  and  at  his 
request  she  proceeded  with  the  task,  one  as  yet  scarcely  initiated, 
although  Follen  had  already  succeeded  in  getting  Longfellow, 
John  Quincy  Adams,  Bancroft,  Prescott,  Channing,  Parker, 
and  others  interested  in  German  philosophy  and  literature. 
Mrs.  Robinson  came  as  his  great  co-worker  in  extending 
this  interest.  From  time  to  time  her  articles  on  "Popular  Songs 
of  the  Teutonic  Races"  appeared  in  the  North  American  Re- 
view, and  in  1840  they  were  put  into  book  form  under  the 
title  of  Charakteristik  der  VolksUeder. 

In  1837,  following  her  husband's  appointment  to  the  Union 
Theological  Seminary  in  New  York,  she  left  her  circle  of 
friends  at  Boston.  Immediately  after  entering  upon  this  work 
at  the  new  institution  Robinson  went  on  a  tour  of  investigation 

—  37  — 


to  Europe,  Palestine,  and  Egypt,  accompanied  by  his  wife, 
who,  however,  remained  in  Hamburg,  Leipzig,  and  Dres- 
den. During  her  stay  in  Germany  she  published  more  works 
dealing  with  popular  songs.  With  the  knowledge,  spirit,  and 
keenness  of  a  German  professor,  and  the  intuition  and  sym- 
pathy of  a  woman,  she  seemed  to  possess  a  peculiar  aptitude 
for  such  studies  as  this.  In  the  naivete  of  primitive  songs, 
she  traced  the  life-springs  of  a  nation.  There  is  no  ques- 
tion but  that  her  already  broad  interest  in  mankind  was 
broadened  and  enlarged  through  these  studies,  which  in  their 
scope  touched  upon  the  songs  of  France,  Russia,  Slavonia, 
Spain,  Germany,  Scandinavia,  England,  Scotland,  and  Ameri- 
ca. Through  her  critical  essay  on  Ossian  not  Genuine  in  1840, 
she  brought  to  a  close,  at  least  for  many  years  to  come,  the 
dispute  over  the  genuineness  of  Macpherson's  Ossian,  which 
Samuel  Johnson  had  done  so  much  to  intensify.  Her  essay 
called  forth  a  storm  of  contradiction,  which,  however,  was 
totally  incapable  of  destroying  its  effectiveness. 

Upon  her  husband's  return  from  Palestine  in  1840,  Mrs. 
Robinson  returned  to  America.  Her  home  in  New  York  be- 
came the  rendevouz  for  educated  people,  where  some  of 
America's  most  famous  literary  men  and  women  met  in  social 
intercourse.  A  few  personal  letters  to  Mrs.  Robinson,  found 
among  the  remnants  of  books  and  papers  now  in  possession  of 
her  grandson  Edward  Robinson  of  New  York,  show  that 
among  others  Bancroft,  Bryant,  Bayard  Taylor,  Olmstead,  and 
Kohl  were  her  frequent  guests. ^^  With  such  an  able,  though 
altogether  modest,  woman  as  hostess  to  the  educated  men  and 
women  of  her  day,  we  can  easily  realize  the  charm  of  con- 
versation, the  brillancy  of  ideas  exchanged,  the  unconscious 
and  subtle  influence  of  one  great  mind  upon  another  which 
must  have  taken  place  within  her  walls ;  in  winter  at  her  New 
York  residence,  in  summer  at  her  picturesque  seat  among  the 
Catskill  mountains. 

In  her  own  intellectual  history  these  acquaintanceships, 
some  of  them  transient,  others  enduring,  counted  for  much. 

59  Unfortunately  a  fire  destroyed  almost  all  of  the  manuscripts  left 
by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Robinson. 

—  38  — 


A  friendship  with  Friederich  von  Raumer,  the  German  his- 
torian, who  visited  her  in  her  New  York  home  in  1844,  gave 
her  the  idea  of  entering  the  field  of  history.  This  idea  was 
strengthened  by  Albert  Gallatin  and  other  of  her  friends  in 
the  city.  It  was  just  the  time  when  a  great  movement  was  on 
foot  to  collect  the  sources  of  American  history.  The  task  ap- 
pealed to  her  inclination  to  delve  into  national  pasts.  Societies 
for  such  study  were  being  formed  everywhere,  and  to  one 
such  of  which  Albert  Gallatin  was  president,  both  Robinson 
and  his  wife  belonged.  As  her  share  in  the  programs  Mrs. 
Robinson  wrote  several  historical  sketches ;  among  them  was 
"Die  Geschichte  des  Kapitan  John  Smith",  which  was  pub- 
lished in  1847  in  Raumers  Historisches  Taschenbuch.  This 
same  year  appeared  one  of  her  principal  works,  a  history  of  the 
colonization  of  New  England  from  1607  to  1692.  Critics  differ 
as  to  the  significance  of  this  latter  production ;  but  the  gist  of 
contemporary  comment  as  gathered  from  newspapers  and 
magazines  of  1847,  will  be  presented  in  a  later  chapter.  Her 
literary-historical  Vvorks  were  in  many  respects  epoch  making, 
even  if  her  purely  historical  works  were  not.  Duyckink  says 
of  them,  "Her  style  is  simple  and  she  is  unsurpassed  and 
practical  in  her  learned  and  scientific  representation  of  such 
literary  historical  subjects  as  'Popular  Poetry  of  the  Slavic 
Nations'  etc.  She  also  possesses  the  advantage  of  a  finely 
poetic  culture,  which  because  of  her  love  for  the  original  makes 
it  possible  for  her  to  translate  with  especial  completeness  in- 
to German  or  English  verse."  '^^ 

Her  friendship  with  Washington  Irving,  which  dated 
from  1846,  inclined  her  again  toward  the  field  of  poetiy.  Her 
development  in  this  field  of  activity,  however,  does  not  stand 
out  prominently.  Her  poetry,  while  it  cannot  be  said  to  have 
detracted  in  any  respect  from  the  brilliancy  of  her  work,  can- 
not on  the  other  hand  be  said  to  have  added  anything.  Aside 
from  her  folk-songs,  but  fifteen  poems  have  been  published. 
These  occupy  a  very  small  portion  of  the  book  entitled  Ge- 
sammelte  Novellen,  published  by  her  daughter  after  Talvj's 
death.    We  know  from  what  she  herself  said  or  implied  that 

«o  Cyclopedia  of  American  Literature,  vol.  ii,  p.  169. 

—  39  — 


she  destroyed  many  of  her  first  efforts.  Between  the  years 
1826  and  1845  we  find  no  poems  at  all;  for  1845  we  have  a 
single  verse,  written  in  her  daughter's  album ;  while  the  next 
which  appears  in  this  small  group  of  fifteen  bears  the  date 
1850.  We  cannot  be  sure  that  these  poems  in  any  way  repre- 
sent the  sum  total  of  her  poetic  work,  but  they  are  the  only 
collection  which  has  ever  been  published.  We  may  perhaps 
conclude  rightly,  that  poetry  as  such  was  in  no  way  a  congenial 
form  of  expression  for  her  during  her  life  in  America  until 
after  her  friendship  with  Irving  and  even  after  that  time  not 
an  apt  instrument.  At  this  we  cannot  be  surprised,  however, 
if  we  consider  the  fact  that  hers  was  the  philological  and 
scientific  type  of  mind,  and  not  the  philosophical  and  emotional 
type. 

Aside  from  her  original  works  during  her  life  in  America, 
she  made  several  translations  of  the  results  of  her  husband's 
investigations.  Among  them,  perhaps  the  two  most  important 
were  Neue  biblische  Forschungen  in  Palestine  and  Physische 
Geographie  des  heiligen  Landes.  The  latter  was  made,  in  1865, 
amid  greatly  changed  surroundings,  for  after  the  death  of  her 
husband  in  1863  she  returned  to  her  beloved  Germany  where 
she  spent  the  rest  of  her  life.  During  these  years  she  lived  at 
various  times  in  Berlin,  Italy,  Strassburg,  Karlsruhe,  and 
Hamburg.  She  died  at  the  latter  place  on  April  13,  1870;  her 
body  was  brought  to  America  and  buried  in  New  York. 

Her  circle  of  friends  was  large  both  in  America  and  in 
Europe.  In  Germany  it  numbered  K.  L.  W.  Heyse,  Franz 
Bopp,  Wilhelm  and  Jakob  Grimm,  Wilhelm  and  Alexander 
von  Humboldt,  Friederich  von  Raumer,  and  Goethe;  in 
America,  Bayard  Taylor,  William  Cullen  Bryant,  Frederick 
Olmstead,  George  Bancroft,  J.  C.  Kohl,  Washington  Irving, 
Edward  Everett,  E.  A.  Duyckink,  and  Margaret  Fuller;  in 
Russia,  Kaschin  and  Makarow ;  in  Servia,  Dawidowitsch  and 
Miklosch;  in  Italy,  Manzoni,  Emiliani,  Gindici,  and  Madame 
Ferrucci ;  in  England,  Carlyle.  She  always  held  a  remarkable 
sway  over  youthful  minds,  both  in  inspiring  them  to  definite 
literary  productions,  and  in  infusing  into  them  a  measure  of 
her  own  ambition  and  energy.    She  was  the  inspiration  behind 

—  40  — 


Hermann  Kriege's  Die  Vdter  der  Republik,  his  George  Wash- 
ington, Thomas  Payne,  Benjamin  Franklin  and  Thomas  Jef- 
ferson. Her  husband  was  indebted  to  her  for  a  large  part  of 
his  knowledge  of  the  German  language  and  its  literature.  I 
feel  I  have  not  judged  wrongly  when  I  say  that  much  of  the 
work  in  the  Biblical  Repository  during  her  husband's  editor- 
ship may  be  attributed  to  her  either  directly  or  indirectly.  And 
in  all  her  books  there  is  a  wealth  of  thought  expressed  which 
seems  to  bear  the  stamp  of  her  keenly  scientific  brain  and 
sympathetically  sensitive  appreciation  of  all  liberal  and  idealistic 
tendencies. 

She  was  deeply  religious,  for,  as  Loeher  says,  "How  could 
this  truly  strong  spirit  have  lived  and  succeeded  without  a 
deep  childlike  faith  in  God  and  his  providence  ?"  *^^  She  ob- 
jected to  being  considered  "eine  gelehrte  Frau"  only,  for  this 
was  not  the  goal  of  her  ambition.  She  strove  to  awaken  love 
and  confidence,  to  sympathize  always  where  sympathy  would 
avail,  to  help  the  needy  and  distressed,  to  be  a  wife  to  her 
husband  and  a  mother  to  her  children  in  the  true  sense.  Hers 
was  a  nature  entirely  free  from  pettiness  and  untruth,  a  na- 
ture thoroughly  feminine.  She  loved  youth  and  was  perfectly 
at  home  with  young  people.  Unlike  man}-^  women,  she  took  a 
keen  interest  in  the  broader  political  movements  in  Germany 
and  America.  This  interest,  however,  did  not  lead  her  at  any 
time  to  assume  an  attitude  which  could  be  criticised  as  bold 
and  unwomanly.  Indeed,  in  almost  every  personal  reference 
to  her  by  contemporary  critics  the  terms  "modest"  and  "tender" 
appear.  She  knew  a  woman's  place,  and  although  endowed 
with  unusual  powers  she  held  herself  always  within  the 
boundaries  of  her  worthy  station.^^    A  glimpse  of  her  attitude 

•^1  Loher,  Beitrage  z.  a.  Zeitung. 

62  In  the  Memorial  History  of  the  City  of  New  York,  vol.  3,  p.  494, 
Mrs.  Robinson's  name  appears  among  the  first  signers  of  a  circular  ad- 
dressed to  the  "Women  of  New  York"  and  especially  to  those  already 
engaged  in  preparing  against  the  time  of  "Wounds  and  Sickness  in  the 
Army".  It  was  the  germ  of  the  most  important  auxiliary  to  the  medical 
department  of  the  Union  armies  which  the  war  created — The  Sanitar\' 
Commission.  She  was  also  president  of  a  "Women's  Association  for 
the  care  of  Orphans". 

—  41  — 


toward  her  home  and  its  duties  draws  us  even  more  closely 
to  her.  It  was  a  matter  of  pride  with  her  that  she  never  turned 
her  attention  to  her  writing  or  study  until  she  had  put  her 
house  in  order  for  the  day.  A  word  of  praise  from  her  hus- 
band about  her  skill  as  a  housewife  meant  more  to  her  than  any 
praise  as  a  writer.  But  that  he  valued  her  literary  skill  we 
also  know  from  what  she  herself  says  of  him :  "Robinson  be- 
longs, indeed  quite  fortunately  to  the  few  men  who  know  how 
to  appreciate  a  lively  interest  in  art  and  science,  even  among 
women;  and  he  would  rather  arouse  my  enthusiasm  toward 
literary  activity  than  hold  me  back  from  it."  ^' 

From  a  description  on  a  passport  granted  to  her  in  1851 
at  the  age  of  54  years,  we  learn  that  she  was  five  feet,  one  and 
one-half  inches  tall,  had  blue  eyes,  blond  hair,  and  a  fair  com- 
plexion. Her  husband  was  a  man  six  feet  tall,  dark  of  hair 
and  skin.  Two  children,  Edward  and  Mary  survived  them. 
The  former  was  an  officer  in  the  Civil  War  at  the  time  of  his 
father's  death.  He  resigned  his  position,  however,  and  ac- 
companied his  mother  to  Germany,  where  he  filled  the  office 
of  consul  at  Strassburg  and  Hamburg  during  the  years  1865 
to  1875.  In  the  latter  year  he  returned  to  America,  and 
practiced  law  in  New  York  City  until  his  death  in  1894.  Two 
sons  and  one  daughter  at  present  represent  the  family,  Ed- 
ward Robinson  of  the  firm  of  Ruggles  and  Robinson,  Engin- 
eers, in  New  York  City,  and  Hope  Hobinson  Hitchcock  and 
Herman  Robinson,  who  reside  in  the  Berkshires  of  Massa- 
chusetts. Mary  Robinson,  Talvj's  daughter  died  in  New  York 
City  in  1906.  She  attained  considerable  prominence  in  music, 
being  a  composer  as  well  as  a  finished  pianist  . 

In  all  justice  Mrs.  Robinson  may  be  called  one  of  the  most 
important  writers  of  her  sex.  Goethe  spoke  of  her  as  one  "who 
had  the  heart  of  a  woman,  but  the  brain  of  a  man."  ®*  Her 
daughter  pays  her  a  beautiful  eulogy  in  the  introduction  to 
Gesammelte  Novellen.  In  part  she  says,  "The  blessing  of 
these  characteristics — most  loving  mother  and  wife,  most  care- 
ful and  cautious  housewife — fell  upon  those  who  were  nearest 

'^3  Preussische  Jahrbilcher,  vol.  Ixxvi,  p.  357. 
**  Cyclopedia  of  British  arid  American  Authors. 

—  42  — 


to  her,  those  whose  very  existence  was  woven  into  hers.  They 
knew  best  her  warm  loving  heart,  her  conscientiousness,  her 
stem  feeling  of  duty,  the  entire  lack  of  self-seeking  in  her 
nature.  To  them  she  disclosed  her  deeply  religious  sentiment, 
her  reverence  for  God,  and  her  complete  resignation  to  His 
will  in  order  to  attain  to  man's  highest  effort.  They  knew, 
too,  that  the  faults,  from  which  naturally  she  was  not  free, 
were  a  part  of  her  temperament  and  not  her  character,  and 
that  the  shadows  cast  by  these  faults  served  only  to  intensify 
the  light  of  her  character.  And  they  are  the  ones  who  have 
lost  the  most,  and  whose  loss  can  never  be  replaced."  '^^ 

Chapter  II. 
Literary  Activity  Prior  to  Coming  to  America. 

It  was  not  until  Talvj's  criticisms  began  to  appear  from 
time  to  time  in  the  Literarisches  Conversationsblatt  that  she 
really  entered  the  literary  field.  These,  as  before,  appeared 
anonymously,  but  under  the  general  title  "Briefe  eines  Frauen- 
zimmers  iJber  einige  neue  Erscheinungen  der  Literatur."  In 
the  "Blatter"  for  1822  there  are  three  articles  by  her;  and 
in  them  reference  is  made  to  preceding  as  well  as  the  follow- 
ing articles.  However,  from  the  fact  that  as  early  as  1823 
she  became  interested  in  Servian  folk-songs,  we  may  infer 
that  after  that  date  her  ventures  into  the  field  of  criticism 
were  few. 

Pustkuchen,  a  preacher  and  writer  of  the  first  half  of  the 
nineteenth  century  had  attracted  no  inconsiderable  attention 
by  his  captiously  critical  attitude  toward  Goethe's  Wilhelm 
Meister.  The  tone  of  hostility  toward  Goethe  which  pervaded 
his  books,  uniting  a  harsh  judgment  of  both  his  personality 
and  works,  excited  the  resentment  of  a  hero-worshipping  pub- 
lic. Talvj's  review  of  Pustkuchen's  two  works,  "Ueher  Wil- 
helm Meisters  Tagebiich  vom  Verfasser  der  IVanderjahre,  and 
Ueher  die  Gedankcn  einer  frommen  Grafin,  which  had  ap- 
peared in  1821  and  1822  respectively,  shows  a  keen  and  just 

*5  Gesammelte  Novellen,  Introduction,  p.  xxviii  and  xxix. 

—  43  — 


intellect.  Her  whole  examination  is  conducted  in  the  spirit 
of  the  eighteenth  century  essayists  and  reviewers  who  read  into 
the  meaning  of  the  word  'criticism'  a  much  fuller  significance 
than  we  now  ascribe  to  it ;  and  she,  like  they,  assumes  in  the 
duty  of  the  critic  two  functions,  one  to  separate  the  genuine 
from  the  non-genuine,  as  a  second  to  judge  or  set  a  standard 
for  the  beautiful.  It  is  unfortunate  that  Talvj's  excursions 
into  the  department  of  Hterary  criticisms  were  not  more  nu- 
merous after  taking  up  her  work  in  America,  especially  in 
view  of  the  fact  that  so  much  of  America's  literature  bore  the 
stamp  of  a  labored  and  artificial  imitation.  The  check  on  such 
literature,  naturally  is  just  such  broad-based  literary  criticism 
as  that  in  which  Talvj  had  exhibited  her  breadth  of  mind, 
acuteness,  and  good  judgment.  To  illustrate,  in  introducing 
her  critical  review  of  Ueber  Wilhelm  Meister  Tagebuch  she 
says:  "There  appear  among  the  expressions  of  this  clever 
diary  many  which  seem  to  me  to  be  false,  many  distorted,  and 
then,  too,  many  which  are  significant."  She  adds,  "Among 
all  of  them  I  find  a  truly  ingenious  connection  and  consequence 
of  an  excellent  thinker,  self-reliant  almost  to  stubborness  some- 
times." '^  She  then  proceeds  to  analyze  the  piece  part  by  part. 
But  she  does  not  stop  with  mere  analysis ;  she  draws  compar- 
isons and  makes  suggestions.  She  evinces  in  a  letter  to  Jakob 
Grimm  a  desire  to  be  accorded  just  the  sort  of  criticism  she 
herself  tries  to  give.  She  says  among  other  things,  "... 
in  this  case  I  wish  to  hear,  fearlessly  given,  the  voice  of  truth 
only."  " 

After  discussing  the  weaknesses  and  deficiencies  of  Pust- 
kuchen's  book,  Talvj  turns  to  a  consideration  of  its  various 
merits.  "How  gladly,"  she  says  "I  pass  to  the  excellent,  the 
new,  and  the  beautiful,  which  form  so  predominant  a  part  of 
this  book."  In  such  a  criticism  an  author  cannot  feel  that  the 
view  taken  of  his  work  by  his  critic  has  been  colored  by  per- 
sonal prejudice.  It  must  appeal  to  him  as  the  honest  and  un- 
biased opinion  of  an  acute  and  trained  intellect;  instead  of 
antagonizing,  it  must  spur  him  on  to  greater  effort.     We  are 

66  Conversationsblatt,  No.  17,  1822. 

*''  Prenssische  Jahrbucher,  vol.  Ixxvi,  p.  348.  '       ' 

-^  44  — 


told,  or  rather  she  tells  us  herself  in  her  short  autobiography, 
that  she  enjoyed  this  kind  of  work.  It  was  a  challenge  to  her 
ever-present  inclination  to  investigate  and  to  connect  causes 
and  effects. 

In  her  review  and  criticism  of  Ueber  die  Gedanken  einer 
frommen  Gr'dfin,  which  appeared  in  No.  90  of  the  Conversa- 
tionsblatt  for  1822,  she  brings  out  very  strongly  a  conviction 
which  we  find  her  maintaining  throughout  her  life.  Pustkuchen 
had  expressed  in  this  work  a  characteristically  pessimistic  sen- 
timent :    "Thus  man  torments  himself  to  become  religious  and 

for  his  efforts  wins  nothing  but  empty  illusion My  duty 

is  eternal  love  and  still  I  cannot  attain  to  it."  Talvj  answers, 
"No  one  who  recognizes  the  sublime  happiness  of  inner  faith 
will  be  able  to  read  these  gloomy  words  without  deep  serious- 
ness and  painful  sadness.  If  they  were  true,  if  all  our  efforts 
and  our  strivings,  if  our  deepest  conclusions  were  in  vain,  if 
the  right  physician  did  not  lend  a  willing  ear  to  our  burning 
desires,  if  we  should  have  to  wait  until  he  came  to  us,  in  order 
to  lead  us  through  his  grace,  how  insignificant,  how  depressing, 
how  humiliating  this  human  life  would  be." 

In  this  criticism  a  chance  but  deeply  serious  allusion  to 
herself  as  an  "ungelehrtes  Frauenzimmer"  bears  witness  to 
her  possession  of  a  sense  of  unworthiness  for  the  office  of  a 
literary  arbiter.  In  a  way  the  term  'ungelehrt'  was  true,  for 
she  lacked  the  formal  preparation  found  within  academic  walls, 
and  had  enjoyed  little  even  of  a  tutor's  training.  However, 
none  but  herself  would  have  called  her  'ungelehrt.'  The  scope 
of  her  interest  was  very  wide,  and  her  scholarship  in  each  of 
her  varied  fields  was  far  above  the  average.  She  speaks  also 
of  the  'limitations  of  her  capabilities.'  Because  of  this  very 
consciousness  of  her  limitations,  what  she  says  and  the  way 
she  says  it  appear  absolutely  genuine,  and  in  being  genuine 
assume  the  character  of  the  honest  conviction  of  an  unbiased 
mind  trained  to  think  for  and  through  itself. 

The  third  article  in  the  C onversationshlatt  for  1822  is  a  re- 
view of  Grillparzer's  Das  goldene  Vliess,  in  which  the  critical 
element  is  greatly  outweighed  by  a  resume  of  the  subject  matter 

—  45  — 


— a  rendition  of  the  story  in  miniature.  A  few  years  later, 
in  1826,  she  met  Grillparzer  at  the  home  of  Goethe  in  Weimar. 
The  most  important  piece  of  work  done  by  Talvj  during 
this  period,  and  indeed,  according  to  the  opinion  of  many,  the 
most  important  Hterary  achievement  of  her  lifetime,  was  her 
VolksUeder  der  Serhen.  As  early  as  1756  a  Dalmatian,  by 
name  Kacio-Miosic,  made  a  collection  of  popular  ballads  of 
Slavonic  peoples,  analogous  to  that  which  Bishop  Percy  did 
for  England  and  Scotland  in  1765,  when  he  published  his 
Reliques.  In  1814  Wuk  Stephanovitsch  Karadschitsch  pub- 
lished a  four  volume  collection  at  Leipzig,  noatble  in  that  it 
inspired  Jakob  Grimm  to  give  to  the  German  people,  in  the 
version  of  a  German  poet,  the  first  of  these  songs  that  they  had 
read  since  the  time  of  Herder.  Through  Jakob  Grimm,  more- 
over, Wuk  Stephanovitsch  was  brought  into  friendly  relation 
with  Goethe,  and  was  able  to  induce  him,  in  turn,  to  entertain 
a  lively  interest  in  Slavonic  poetry.  Goethe  published  some  of 
Wuk's  translations,  and  some  of  Grimm's  as  well,  in  his  Kunst 
mid  Altertum.  Finally,  Jakob  Grimm's  public  recommenda- 
tion of  the  Servian  popular  poetry,  aroused  the  curiosity  of 
Therese  von  Jakob,  or  Talvj,  and  she  began  the  study  of  Ser- 
vian, which,  probably  because  of  a  strong  foundation  for  it 
which  she  had  in  her  knowledge  of  Russian,  she  mastered  with 
unusual  rapidity.  By  1826  she  had  translated  and  published 
two  volumes  of  VolksUeder  der  Serben.  She  had  heard  that 
Goethe  was  taking  a  decided  interest  in  the  Servian  literature, 
and  so  she  ventured,  despite  an  almost  overpowering  timidity, 
to  write  to  him  and  tell  him  of  her  proposed  work.  At  the 
time  she  sent  her  first  letter  to  him,  she  also  sent  a  few  of  the 
songs  she  had  already  translated.  ^'^  Goethe  received  her  letter 
and  translations  in  the  most  cordial  manner,  and  from  that 
time  until  the  completion  of  her  work  she  maintained  a  most 
interesting  and  profitable  correspondence  with  him.  Three 
times  during  the  period,  she  met  him  personally  at  Weimar 
and  discussed  the  work  with  him.  It  had  always  been  Goethe's 
conviction  that  in  order  to  arouse  the  proper  atmosphere  for 
the  reception  of  popular  poetr}^,  the  songs  or  poems  must  be 

«8  April  12,  1824. 

—  46  — 


presented  in  a  mass  and  not  in  isolated  form.  Only  in  this 
way,  among  so  much  of  limitation,  poverty,  and  superficiality 
could  its  accompanying  richness,  breadth,  and  depth  be  realized. 
It  is  no  more  fair  to  judge  a  nation  by  a  few  selections  of  pop- 
ular songs  than  it  is  to  judge  an  author  by  one  or  two  of  his 
works.  The  fact  that  Talvj  was  aiming  to  present  her  transla- 
tions in  this  collected  form  pleased  Goethe  very  much,  and  he 
encouraged  her  in  most  cordial  phrases.  In  speaking  of  her 
work  in  Kunst  und  Altertum  he  said.  "In  this  matter,  as  things 
now  stand,  nothing  could  be  more  pleasing  than  that  a  young 
woman  of  peculiar  talent  and  fitness  for  handling  the  Slavonic 
language,  acquired  by  a  previous  residence  in  Russia,  should 
conclude  to  make  a  study  of  the  Servian,  devoting  herself  to 
this  treasure  of  song  with  remarkable  zeal She  trans- 
lates without  external  incentive,  from  an  inner  inclination  and 

judgment and  she  will  arrange  in  a  volume  as  many  of 

the  poems  as  she  needs  in  order  to  acquaint  himself  with  this 
extraordinary  poetry."  ^^  Goethe's  approval  was  the  spark 
of  stimulation  Talvj  needed.  Two  motives  lay  back  of  her 
work,  one  was  to  lessen  the  sting  of  her  grief  over  the  recent 
death  of  a  brother,  and  the  other  to  please  Goethe  whom  she 
loved  above  all  poets. 

Jakob  Grimm  criticised  her  work  as  being  too  much  a  ger- 
manizing  of  the  Servian.  When,  at  her  request  for  his  criti- 
cism, he  sent  her  this  statement,  "I  do  not  understand  why 
much  or  all  should  be  germanized,  and  I  believe  that  our  own 
language  is  weakened  in  the  process,"  '^'^  she  replied  with  rather 
astonishing  frankness ;  "Indeed,  if  the  folk-songs  do  not  be- 
long among  that  which  is  to  be  germanized,  why  should  the 
fables,  so  closely  related  to  them,  be  translated?  Whether 
poetry  or  prose,  it  is  one  and  the  same."  ''^  And  again  she 
says,  "I  cannot  deny  that  my  idea  of  a  good  translation  does 

not  harmonize  with  yours   I  find  that  the  better  we 

know  a  language,  the  less  it  occurs  to  us  to  translate  it  liter- 

'^^  Kunst  und  Altertum.  Weimar  Ed.,  vol.  xli — xlii,  p.   149. 
'"^  Preussische  Jahrbiicher,  vol.  Ixxvi,  p.  348. 
'''^  Ibidem,  p.  349. 

—  47  — 


allv. "-  In  another  reference  to  her  translation  she  remarks 
that  she  has  tried  to  make  it  as  faithful  as  the  entirely  different 
spirit  of  the  two  languages  will  permit,  often,  for  this  rea- 
son, throwing  it  into  a  purely  literal  form.  She  has  never  al- 
lowed a  simple  or  strong  portrayal  in  the  original  to  be  changed 
or  swallowed  up  by  rhetorical  adornment.  Goethe  studied  the 
translations  by  both  Grimm  and  Talvj,  and  then  made  the  fol- 
lowing statement :  "Grimm's  translation  in  its  strict  adherence 
to  the  original,  was  for  him  the  most  desirable.  Inasmuch  as 
he  himself  was  not  master  of  any  Slavic  dialect  he,  to  a  cer- 
tain extent,  approximated  the  original ;  thus  only  could  he  pro- 
cure a  sympathy  for  the  word-order  and  rythm  of  the  Servian 
songs.  His  aim  was  to  lead  back  to  the  original  text,  but  this 
more  scholarly  attitude  was  not  a  feasible  one  for  the  more 
general  public,  whose  aim  was  appreciation  rather  than  study. 
On  the  other  hand,  Talvj 's  more  free  and  happy  translation  was 
able  to  make  the  most  vigorous  hero-legends  and  the  tenderest 
love  songs  of  this  foreign  nation  the  common  property  of  Ger- 
many.    ^^ 

In  October  of  1826  Talvj  met  Jakob  Grimm  in  Cassel.  His 
attitude  toward  her  at  first  seemed  to  lack  the  enthusiasm  which 
later  marked  it  so  strongly.  Perhaps  he  who  was  then  an  au- 
thority in  the  field  of  folk-lore  and  myth  had  an  apprehensive 
suspicion  that  hers  was  the  work  of  a  dilettante;  and  what 
seemed  like  a  jealous  impatience  of  her  intrusion  upon  his 
interests  was  in  reality  the  resentment  of  a  highminded  scholar 
for  anything  which  obscured  the  truth.  At  any  rate,  his  at- 
titude latter  became  one  of  decided  admiration  for  both  the 
woman  and  her  ability.  This  changed  view-point  was  shown 
twice — once  by  his  cordial  expression  of  approbation  when  her 
work  appeared,  and  again  by  the  expression  of  a  concrete 
act  of  kindness  and  deference.  In  1837,  when  her  hus- 
band set  out  upon  his  tour  of  investigation  to  Palestine,  she 
returned  to  Germany,  spending  a  part  of  the  time  during  the 
next  three  years  in  Dresden.  While  here,  Jakob  Grimm  un- 
expectedly paid  her  a  visit  and  discussed  his  plan  for  a  'Wor- 

72  Ibidem,  p.  349. 

■^3  R.  Steig,  Goethe  und  die  Briider  Grimm,  p.  180. 

—  48  — 


terbuch'    with  her,  in  regard  to  which  he  was  even  then  on  his 
way  to  Saxony. 

A  letter  from  Professor  Jakob,  a  cousin  of  Talvj's,  to  Grimm 
contains  this  acknowledgment,  "Yon  introduced  the  Servian 
poems  of  my  cousin  to  the  public  in  such  a  friendly  way."  '^* 
Jakob  Grimm's  approval,  no  doubt,  meant  m.uch,  but  Goethe's 
cordial  and  lively  interest  was  really  the  chief  factor  in  assuring 
to  the  book  the  instantaneous  favor  with  which  it  met.  I  am 
thoroughly  convinced  that  the  book  would,  if  left  to  rest  upon 
its  own  merits,  ultimately  have  attained  to  the  same  apprecia- 
tion ;  but  without  such  adventitious  aid  the  process  would  have 
been  a  slow  one.  We  must  remember  that  Talvj  was  compar- 
atively unknown  in  the  field  of  literature,  so  that  the  name  of 
the  author  was  not  'open  sesame'  to  popularity.  She  quite  natur- 
ally wished  to  dedicate  the  book  to  Goethe.  He  accepted  the 
compliment  with  pleasure,  but  did  not  feel  competent  to  comply 
with  her  request  that  he  write  a  preface;  however  he  recom- 
mended it  to  the  public  through  his  Kiinst  tend  Alteruni.  The 
dedication  took  the  form  of  three  beautiful  verses,  the  last  of 
which  is  especially  worth  quotation : 

Drum,  hoher  Meister,  die  zwiefach  Dein  eigen, 

Die  Blatter  reich  ich  Dir,  und  zage  nicht ! 

Dein  Wink  rief  sie  ermuthigend  ans  Licht. 

Vielleicht,  dass  Manchem  ihre  Rathsel  schweigen, 

Dass    unverstanden    ihre    Stimme    spricht ; 

Dein  Beifall  geniigt  und  biirgt,  sie  offenbare 

So  Dichtrisch-Schdnes,   wie  das   Menschlich-Wahre. 

In  speaking  with  Eckermann  on  January  18,  1825,  Goethe 
said,  "I  rejoice  over  this  intellectual  woman  in  Halle,  who  has 
introduced  us  into  the  Servian  world  with  a  man's  strength  of 
mind.  The  poems  are  excellent !  There  are  some  among  them 
which  are  worthy  of  being  placed  beside  the  'Song  of  Songs,' 
and  that  means  a  great  deal."  '^' 

In  Kiinst  und  Alterhnn  we  find  the  work  mentioned  as  one 
of  the  three  beautiful  gifts  to  German  poetic  literature.  In 
order  of  greatness,  beauty,  and  worth  Goethe  mentions :    Ser- 

^*  Preussische  Jahrbucher,  vol.  Ixxvi,  p.  362. 
^5  Gesprache  mit  Eckermann.  1825. 

—  49  — 


hische  Lieder  libersetzt  von  Talvj,  Lettische  Lieder  von  Rhesa 
and  Frithiof  durch  Amalia  von  Helvig-Aus  dem  Schwedischen. 
In  another  reference,  again,  she  is  mentioned  with  Jakob 
Grimm  and  Herr  Gerhard.  To  no  one  of  these  three  writers 
does  Goethe  give  preeminence  in  this  field.  Wuk  Stephano- 
vitsch  and  Kopitar  both  gave  her  valuable  assistance  by  sug- 
gesting to  her  certain  of  those  peculiarities  of  the  Servian 
language  for  which  none  but  a  native-born  could  possess  a 
real  sympathy  and  appreciation.  That  the  work  met  with  the 
approbation  not  merely  of  both  these  Servian  scholars,  but  of 
others  as  well,  we  may  gather  from  a  letter  which  she  re- 
ceived from  some  of  the  young  Servian  students  who  were 
studying  in  Germany.  What  they  wrote  to  her  is  of  especial 
interest  at  the  present  time:  ''The  Servian  people,  robbed 
of  every  interest  in  the  activities  and  progress  of  the  educated 
world,  were  long  known  among  the  nations  blessed  with  a 
national  culture,  as  a  nation  of  slaves,  often  as  a  nation  of 
robbers  and  murderers.  To  the  bearers  of  Europe's  civili- 
zation, the  noble  conceptions  which  nourished  and  inspired 
the  Servians  were  unknown.  Instead  of  favor  the  nation  ac- 
quired disfavor,  instead  of  sympathy,  scorn To  you, 

O  noble  woman,  and  to  your  powerful  mind  belongs  the  honor 

of  having  secured  for  our  people  protection  and  refuge 

You  have  heralded  the  worth  of  the  Occident.  What  a 
sublime  feeling  for  you  has  sprung  up  in  the  hearts  of  a  nation 
which  has  been  placed  on  the  stage  of  humanity  not  through 
its  own  material  might,  but  through  your  ability  and  effort. 
Receive  thanks,  then,  from  us  to  whom  your  noble  father- 
land, Prussia,  has  so  hospitably  opened  the  doors  of  its 
educational  institutions.  Your  worthy  name  shall  be  enrolled 
with  respect  and  honor  among  the  list  of  friends  of  that  in- 
tellectual progress,  which  you  are  advancing  so  wisely."  ™ 

Talvj  accomplished  in  part  what  Herder  in  his  Volkslieder 
wished  might  yet  be  accomplished  for  the  national  poetry  of 
the  less  civilized  older  peoples.  As  yet  this  poetr)--  seemed 
veiled  in  darkness.  Speaking  of  her  work  in  this  connection, 
Menzel  said,    "He  has  gathered  together  in  two  volumes  the 

''^  From  an  unpublished  clipping  found  among  her  papers. 

—  50  — 


most  excellent  love  and  epic  songs  of  that  nation.  If  he  has 
not  given  them  to  us  with  their  whole  natural  atmosphere,  still 
he  has  made  us  acquainted  with  the  very  kernel  of  an  entirely 
peculiar  folklore.""  (Menzel  was  one  of  those  who  thought 
'Talvj'  was  a  man.)  It  was  a  surprise  to  the  German  people 
to  be  brought  to  realize  that  such  a  wealth  and  depth  of  feel- 
ing could  exist  in  a  nation  which  had  always  been  looked  upon 
as  barbarian.  Whatever  Goethe  had  done  previous  to  this  was 
with  isolated  songs,  and  she,  probably  better  than  any  one  else, 
realized  how  impossible  it  was  to  arouse  an  interest  and  ap- 
preciation by  means  of  isolated  examples.  The  "Lamentation 
of  Asan  Aga,"  which  he  had  translated  some  years  before,  had 
been  received  favorably,  but  it  neither  prepared  the  way  for 
nor  anticipated  the  unusual  appreciation  of  Servian  literature 
which  followed  the  publication  of  Talvj 's  book.  Menzel  cred- 
ited to  'Herr  Talvj'  a  deep  natural  sympathy  for  this  so-called 
barbarian  people,  which  enabled  him  to  give  these  songs  the 
charms  of  Ossian  and  Homer. 

In  these  unspoiled  sons  of  nature  the  Germans  were  brought 
face  to  face  with  an  old  sacred  strength  and  purity  of  heart 
little  dreamed  of.  Through  all  their  ferocious  wildness  there 
runs  an  almost  incredible  trace  of  mildness  and  tender  honor. 
Theirs  is  the  naive  expression  of  a  feeling  not  yet  restrained 
by  consciousness  of  civilization,  or  by  the  form  of  a  stilted 
and  artificial  language.  The  Servian  and  New  Greek  songs 
bear  some  similarities,  in  as  much  as  both  peoples  were  on  ap- 
proximately the  same  plane  of  cultural  development,  and  were 
for  centuries  neighbors  and  fellow-servants  under  the  same 
tyranny. 

A  short  history  of  the  Servians,  which  successfully  ful- 
fills its  design  in  creating  an  interest  in  the  songs  themselves, 
constitutes  an  introduction  to  the  first  volume.  A  comparison 
of  Talvj 's  translation  with  a  literal  translation  of  one  of  the 
longer  songs  convinced  both  Goethe  and  Menzel  that  her  ver- 
sions moved  with  a  swing  and  smoothness  quite  in  accord  with 
the  original.  Both  were  free  from  even  the  restraint  of  rhyme. 
Critics  have  said  that  Talvj 's  and  Goethe's  translations  seem, 

''~  Literatur-Blatt,  No.  77,  Sept.  26,  1826. 

—  51  — 


almost,  to  have  been  the  work  of  one  person.  There  is  a 
naturalness  about  the  shorter  poems  of  love,  longing,  fidelity, 
and  grief  which  effectually  excludes  all  sentimentality.  The 
charm  of  truly  artless  spontaneity  as  attractive  as  the  charm 
of  childish  naivete  hovers  around  the.  The  first  volume  con- 
tains fifty-four  poems  of  the  lyrical  variety,  followed  by  ten 
longer  poems,  or  'Romanzen,'  depicting  life  within  the  family 
circle  and  on  the  field  of  battle.  A  peculiar  characteristic  marks 
all  these  longer  poems ;  the  mother  and  brother  play  a  more 
important  role,  it  seems,  than  the  father.  Blood  relationship, 
again,  as  in  all  the  earlier  nations  is  a  sacred  tie.  The  vol- 
ume closes  with  two  long  poems,  of  which  one  is  built  about 
the  heroic  figure  of  Marko,  while  the  other  culminates  in  the 
battle  of  Amselfeld.  Marko  is  comparable  to  the  German 
Siegfried,  the  Greek  Achilles,  the  Scandinavian  Baldur,  the 
Ossian  Oscar,  and  like  them  all  succumbs  to  the  irresistible 
power  of  fate. 

After  the  appearance  of  the  first  volume  in  1825,  repeated 
complaints  came  that  Talvj  had  not  given  to  the  public  enough 
of  the  shorter,  so-called  female  songs ;  and  in  the  second  volume 
which  appeared  in  1826,  she  attempted  to  satisfy  this  demand 
by  the  inclusion  of  ninety-two  lyrics.  Besides  these,  other 
additions  to  the  second  volume  include  thirteen  longer  j>oems, 
twelve  legends  and  epics,  another  long  Marko  epic,  and  five 
scenes  from  the  last  insurrection  of  the  Servians.  It  was 
currently  believed  that  Talvj  was  acquainted  with  many  more 
songs,  and  a  third  volume,  which  never  appeared,  was  long  and 
confidently  awaited  by  many  of  her  readers ;  but  whether  fear 
of  offending  the  cultivated  German  ear  with  a  presentation  of 
nature  in  her  natural  garb  as  manifested  in  a  primitive  and 
natural  people  restrained  her  from  further  publications,  I 
have  not  been  able  to  ascertain.  One  of  her  critics  suggested 
that  as  a  possible  reason. 

Upon  her  arrival  in  Berlin,  she  was  received  as  a  writer  of 
recognized  ability.  Her  work  had  already  revived  Savigny's  in- 
terest in  Slavic  poetry.  On  every  hand  she  was  met  with  praise 
and  thanks.  All  this  meant  much  to  Talvj,  but  with  this  pleas- 
ure came  keen  sorrow,  inasmuch  as  there  no  longer  existed 

—  52  — 


any  occasion  for  a  continuance  of  her  correspondence  with 
Goethe.  She  says  in  one  of  her  latest  letters  to  him,  "And 
I  am  brought  to  realize  with  the  deepest  regret  and  sorrow  how 
this  step  (final  publication)  cuts  loose  every  outer  relation  with 
you  whom  I  have  honored  with  all  the  strength  of  my  soul 
since  my  earliest  youth."  '^^  Her  last  letter  to  him  bears  her 
thanks  for  two  beautiful  medallions  which  Goethe,  as  we  know 
from  his  Tagebuch  of  December  2,  1826,  had  sent  her;  medal- 
lions of  the  same  kind  which  he  shortly  afterwards  (1827) 
presented  to  Zelter  and  Griiner — a  picture  of  the  Grand  Duke 
on  one  side  and  of  Goethe  and  an  eagle  on  the  other. 

And  thus  ended  a  chapter  in  Talvj's  literary  career  which 
in  many  respects  has  no  counterpart  in  her  later  life.  Actuated 
in  part  by  a  desire  to  please  Goethe,  in  part  by  a  force  of  mind 
which  one  of  her  critics  found  comparable  to  that  of  a  German 
professor,  she  had  placed  in  German  literature  a  monument  to 
herself  and  to  the  Servian  nation. 

Chapter    III. 

The  American  Indian — Translation  of  Pickering's  Indian 

Languages — Bssay  on  the  Original  Inhabitants  of 

North  America. 

The  Indian,  always  picturesque  and  interesting,  has  come 
to  be  considered  the  most  romantic  element  in  American  his- 
tory and  early  American  life.  He  himself  has  not  produced  a 
literature,  but  his  language,  his  legends,  and  his  songs  have 
been  a  study  for  scholars  of  various  nations.  In  fact,  the  In- 
dian had  a  great  share  in  the  development  of  the  poetic  inter- 
est in  folk  songs  which  reached  such  a  height  in  Germany  dur- 
ing the  latter  part  of  the  eighteenth  century,  owing  to  the 
belief  that  the  original  poetry  of  primitive  nations  manifested 
the  fundamental  nature  of  man  far  more  truly  and  power- 
fully than  the  poetry  of  cultivated  nations.  Moreover,  the 
theory  gained  prominence  that  the  Indians  were  the  ten  lost 
tribes,  and  in  consequence  there  arose  a  deep  interest  in  their 
origin,  stimulating  the  study  of  their  songs  and  legends. 

'^^  Goethe  JaJtrbuch,  ix,  p.  58. 

—  53  — 


The  theory  of  the  Hebraic  origin  of  the  savage  races,  how- 
ever, useful  as  it  was  in  a  Hterary,  philological,  and  ethno- 
logical interest  in  them,  was,  of  course,  without  any  scien- 
tific value.  Many  alternative  and  conflicting  hypotheses 
concerning  the  various  Indian  dialects  were  advanced  and  in 
consequence  there  arose  a  radical  disagreement  as  to  the  Indian 
language.  To  some  it  was  harsh  and  altogether  disagreeable ; 
to  others  it  was  mellow,  soft  and  sonorous.  The  character  of 
the  wilderness  tribes,  too,  became  a  matter  of  great  dispute. 
To  some  they  were  painted  savages,  cruel,  revengeful,  and  ab- 
solutely devoid  of  a  single  genuinely  human  feeling;  to  others 
they  were  loyal,  true,  kind,  and  sincere.  A  remarkable  fact, 
noticeable  in  a  comparative  reading  of  French,  English,  and 
German  writers  is  that,  generally  speaking,  the  German  at- 
titude was  more  humane  and  lenient  than  that  of  the  other  na- 
tions. Indeed  Duponceau,  one  of  the  greatest  scholars  of  the 
Indian,  sums  up  the  attitude  of  nations  other  than  German 
very  well  in  the  words,  "But  who  cares  for  the  poor  American 
Indians?  They  are  savages  and  barbarians  and  live  in  the 
woods ;  must  not  their  languages  be  savage  and  barbarian  like 
them?"  '^  But  of  the  Teutonic  writers  he  remarks:  "I  must 
take  this  opportunity  to  express  my  astonishment  at  the  great 
knowledge  which  the  literati  of  Germany  appear  to  possess  of 
America  and  of  the  customs,  manners,  and  languages  of  its 
original  inhabitants.  Strange  that  we  should  have  to  go  to 
German  universities  to  become  acquainted  with  our  own  coun- 
try." Before  discussing  Talvj's  peculiar  contributions  to  the 
subject  it  may  be  well  to  consider  what,  in  general,  had  been 
done  by  the  writers  of  various  nations,  and  in  particular  by  the 
Germans. 

The  endeavors  of  John  Eliot,  Roger  Williams,  Cadwallader 
Golden,  Samuel  Sagard,  and  Bryan  Edwards  to  give  the  Indian 
language  and  legends  stability  and  permanence  by  reducing 
them  to  writing  must  be  acknowledged  as  a  substantial  effort 
toward  a  general  dissemination  of  knowledge  concerning  such 
topics.  Neither  can  we  overlook  the  work  of  Baron  de  La 
Hontan,  Jonathan  Carver,    Father  Charlevoix,    Colonel  John 

■^9  Memoirs  of  the  Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania,  vol.  xii,  p  367. 

—  54  — 


Gibson,  Dr.  Barton,  EHas  Boudinot  and  others.  However, 
the  real  awakening  of  an  interest  in  this  huge  task  of  pre- 
serving the  fast  disappearing  tongues  and  folk-stories  of  the 
savages  came  through  the  Germans;  and  especially  the  Ger- 
man missionaries,  whose  great  intimacy  with  the  Indians, 
gained  by  the  close  contact  of  long  years  of  residence  among 
them,  inspired  a  sympathy  and  understanding  which  set  it- 
self gladly  to  the  labor  of  recording  their  language. 

As  early  as  1688  we  find  in  a  letter  of  Pastorius,  who  studied 
and  worked  at  the  University  of  Altdorf  before  coming  tO' 
America,  an  account  of  the  Indians  of  Pennsylvania  as  he  knew 
them.  He  said  in  part:  "The  Indians,  or  as  I  prefer  to  call 
them,  the  forest  inhabitants  of  Pennsylvania,  are  large  and  for 

the  most  part  very  muscular Of  an  open  mind,  the 

speech  is  moderate  and  brief,  but  of  decided  worth.  They  can 
neither  read  nor  write.  Notwithstanding,  they  are  inventive, 
sly,  discreet,  earnest,  fearless,  untiring,  and  alert,  but  always 
exact  and  honest  in  business  transactions."  *°  In  the  second 
letter  is  a  list  of  some  of  the  more  common  expressions  and 
terms  of  Indian  speech,  with  their  German  equivalents.  Thus 
early  the  Germans  made  an  attempt  to  become  better  acquainted 
with  the  Indians  by  means  of  a  knowledge  of  their  language. 
The  most  significant  work,  with  respect  to  their  language 
and  culture,  however,  was  done  about  a  century  later  by  Zeis- 
berger  and, — more  especially — by  Heckewelder  ;  and  it  was 
this  which  afforded  Talvj  much  of  her  source  material.  It  is 
true  that  Alexander  von  Humboldt  and  Dr.  N.  H.  Julius  also 
rendered  her  assistance  by  means  of  some  original  folk-lore 
which  they  had  collected;  but  of  all  the  sources  mentioned  by 
her,  Heckenwelder  seems  to  have  been  the  most  significant. 
The  great  Moravian  missionary  first  became  an  evangelist 
to  the  Indians  in  1762,  as  an  assistant  to  Christian  Friedrich 
Post.  This  venture  was  not  successful,  however,  and  it  was 
not  until  1771  that  he  entered  upon  his  actual  career  as  an 
evangelist  to  them.  In  this  year  he  began  his  labors  as  the 
assistant  of  the  already  well-known  David  Zeisberger,  work- 
s'* Goebel,  "Zwei  unbekannte  Briefe  von  Pastorius,"  German  Amer- 
ican Annals,  August,  1904. 

—  55  — 


ing  among  the  Moravian  Indians,  first  in  Pennsylvania  and 
then  in  Ohio.  Almost  the  entire  period  of  his  life  from  this 
time  forward  was  filled  with  dealings  with  and  for  the  Indians. 
Nor  was  his  pen  idle,  active  as  he  was  as  a  teacher  and 
proselyte.  His  book  on  the  History,  Manners,  and  Cus- 
toms of  the  Indian  Nations  zvJw  once  Inhabited  Pennsylvania 
and  the  Neighboring  States,  appearing  in  1819,  caused  a 
veritable  uproar  in  the  critical  world  for  his  attitude  differed 
almost  diametrically  from  that  which  the  majority  of  writers 
before  him  had  taken.  Many  of  the  judgments  passed  upon 
his  volume  were  favorable;  many,  also,  were  scathingly  con- 
demnatory. 

A  few  of  the  more  prominent  phases  of  Indian  life  and  cus- 
toms which  Heckewelder  brought  out  may  be  interesting  as 
a  background  for  Talvj's  study;  for  many  of  her  conclusions, 
although  arrived  at  from  an  altogether  different  method  of 
treatment,  were  similar.  According  to  Heckewelder,  the  com- 
plaints which  the  Indians  made  against  European  ingratitude 
and  injustice  were  long  and  dismal.  They  loved  to  repeat  them 
and  always  did  it  with  the  eloquence  of  nature,  aided  by  an 
energetic  and  comprehensive  language  whose  force  our  polished 
idioms  could  seldom  imitate.  "Often",  he  said,  "I  have  listened 
to  these  descriptions  of  their  hard  sufferings  until  I  felt 
ashamed  of  being  a  white  man."  *^  He  heard  one  Indian  re- 
mark, "I  admit  that  there  are  good  white  men,  but  they  bear 
no  proportion  to  the  bad ;  the  bad  must  be  the  strongest,  for 
they  rule.     The  white  men  are  not  like  the  Indians,  who  are 

only  enemies  while  at  war  and  are  friends  in  peace They 

are  not  to  be  trusted."  ^-  This  plaintive  indignation  Hecke- 
welder found  the  more  appealing  from  the  fact  that  when  the 
Indians  first  saw  the  white  men,  they  considered  them  superior 
beings  sent  by  the  Great  Spirit,  and  expected  to  be  made  hap- 
pier by  their  coming.  "And  yet,  for  all  their  abuses,"  he  quotes 
these  injured  people,  "the  white  men  would  always  be  telling 
us  of  their  great  Book  which  God  had  given  to  them ;  they 
would  persuade  us  that  every  man  was  good  who  believed  in 

*^  Memoirs  of  the  Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania,  vol.  xii,  p.  76. 
^^  Ibidem,  p.  80 

—  56  — 


what  the  book  said,  and  every  man  was  bad  who  did  not  be- 
Heve  in  it.  They  told  us  a  great  many  things  which  they  said 
were  written  in  the  good  Book,  and  wanted  us  to  beheve  it 
all.  We  would  probably  have  done  so,  if  we  had  seen  them 
practice  what  they  pretended  to  believe  and  act  according  to 

the  good  words  which  they  told  us They  killed  those 

who  believed  in  their  book  as  well  as  those  who  did  not."^^ 

Heckewelder  did  not  deny  the  horrors  and  cruelty  of  the 
treatment  which  the  Indians  accorded  their  prisoners  of  war, 
but  he  denied  that  torture  and  death  were  as  frequent  as  many 
of  the  writers  had  maintained.^*  Prisoners  were  generally 
adopted  by  the  families  of  their  conquerors  in  place  of  lost 
or  deceased  relatives  or  friends.  Burning  and  torturing 
scarcely  ever  took  place  except  when  a  nation  had  suffered 
great  losses  in  war,  or  when  wilful  and  deliberate  murders  of 
innocent  women  and  children  had  occurred.  The  respect  which 
the  simple  savages  had  for  old  age  was  remarkable.  In  a  coun- 
cil no  young  man  would  presume  to  offer,  unsolicited,  one 
word  of  advice  in  the  presence  of  his  elders.  This  very  respect, 
however,  so  laudable  in  itself,  was  sometimes  carried  to  the 
extreme,  aand  worked  to  the  detriment  of  the  Indians. 

In  their  individual  social  relations,  moreover,  Heckewelder 
pointed  out  that  the  aborigines  were  not  quarrelsome,  and  were 
always  on  their  guard  so  as  not  to  offend  each  other.  When 
one  supposed  himself  hurt  or  aggrieved  by  a  word  which  had 
inadvertently  fallen  from  the  mouth  of  another,  he  would  say 
to  him,  "Friend,  you  have  caused  me  to  become  jealous  of  you." 
When  the  other  explained  and  said  he  had  no  evil  intentions 
all  hard  feeling  ceased.  They  did  not  fight  with  each  other, 
for  they  said  fighting  was  only  for  dogs  and  beasts.  The  ver- 
dict of  Boudinot  is  in  full  accord  with  this  opinion.  "To 
whom,"  says  Boudinot,  "should  be  attributed  the  evil  pas- 
sions, cruel  practices,  and  vicious  habits  to  which  they  are  now 
changed,  but  to  those  who  first  set  the  example,  laid  the  founda- 
tion, and  then  furnished  the  continual  means  for  propagating 
and  supporting  the  evil  ?"  ^^ 

83  Ibidem,  p.  188. 

8*  See  Lawson's  Journal,  p.  197. 

^^  Memoirs,  vol.  xii,  p.  331. 

—  57  — 


To  the  Indians  the  Almighty  Creator  was  always  present 
as  an  almost  visible  reality.  With  reverence  they  felt  and 
acknowledged  his  supreme  power.  Much  like  the  Greeks  and 
Romans,  they  believed  that  lesser  gods  had  charge  over  the 
elements.  Combined  with  this  worship  was  an  ancestor-worship, 
which  inspired  each  of  them  with  a  hope  to  rise  to  fame  and 
glory, — a  hope,  however,  which  they  could  expect  to  realize 
only  through  submission  and  obedience.  In  illustration  of  this 
religion  and  of  the  superstitious  and  poetic  nature  of  the  In- 
dians, Heckewelder's  book  contains,  besides  the  accounts  of 
savage  life  and  customs,  a  great  number  of  native  legends 
and  bits  of  supernatural  lore. 

In  a  criticism  of  Heckewelder's  work  the  North  American 
Review  presented  the  following  opinion,  one  characteristic  of 
the  prevalent  attitude  of  the  English  and  the  Americans :  "The 
range  of  thought  of  our  Indian  neighbors  is  extremely  limited. 
Of  abstract  ideas  they  are  almost  wholly  destitute.  They  have 
no  sciences,  and  their  religious  notions  are  confused  and 
circumscribed.  They  have  but  little  propert}^,  less  law,  and 
no  public  offences.  They  soon  forget  the  past,  improvidently 
disregard  the  future,  and  waste  their  thoughts,  when  they  do 
think  upon  the  present.  The  character  of  all  original  languages 
must  depend,  more  or  less,  upon  the  wants,  means,  and  oc- 
cupations, mental  and  physical,  of  the  people  who  speak  them, 
and  we  ought  not  to  expect  to  find  the  complicated  refinement 
of  polished  tongues,  among  those  of  our  Indians."  ^^  There 
were,  however,  those  already — a  pitiful  minority — who  took 
issue  with  this  sentiment.  Duponceau,  for  example,  said, 
"Alas!  if  the  beauties  of  the  Lenni  Lenape  language  were 
found  in  the  ancient  Coptic  or  in  some  ante-diluvian  Babylonish 
dialect,  how  would  the  learned  of  Europe  be  at  work  to  display 
them  in  a  variety  of  shapes  and  raise  a  thousand  fanciful 
theories  on  that  foundation !  What  superior  wisdom,  talents 
and  knowledge  would  they  not  ascribe  to  the  nations  whose 
idioms  were  formed  with  so  much  skill  and  method  !"*^ 

This,  then,  was  the  state  of  critical  opinion  in  America  in 

^^  North  American  Review,  1826,  p.  79. 
^^  Memoirs,  vol.  xii,  p.  367. 

—  58  — 


regard  to  the  Indians  and  their  language,  when  Talvj  became 
interested  in  the  various  dialects,  and  in  aboriginal  culture  as 
manifested  in  their  folk-lore.  Her  appearance  served,  in  a 
measure,  as  a  response  to  the  appeal  of  B.  H.  Coates  made  in 
closing  an  address  upon  the  "origin  of  the  Indian"  before  the 
Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania  in  1834.  "The  occasion 
is  tempting",  he  said,  "to  urge  the  cause  of  the  unhappy 
aboriginals  and  must  not  be  neglected.  What  are  the  in- 
quiries of  abstract  research  to  the  claims  of  living  and  suffering 
humanity?  It  is  to  woman  that  we  can  ever  appeal  for  all 
that  is  generous  in  self-devotion  and  gentle  and  lovely  in  per- 
formance. You  possess  the  power  to  guide  and  control  public 
opinion.  You  mould  the  statesman  and  the  warrior,  and  con- 
vert their  cold  and  cruel  calculations  into  plans  of  benevolence 
and  humanity.  Nothing  but  woman  can  bid  the  demon  of 
avarice  to  pause  in  his  career.  It  is  to  woman,  therefore,  that 
I  address  the  cause  of  the  unfortunate  beings  who  have  been 
the  subject  of  this  discourse,  a  race  suffering  from  every  ill 
that  can  be  inflicted  by  the  combined  agency  of  the  thirst  for 
land  and  the  thirst  for  gold.  They  are  still  the  same  people 
who  were  so  long  the  faithful  allies  of  Penn ;  the  men  who 
succored  our  ancestors  and  enabled  them  to  form  a  state."  ^^ 

The  first  work  of  Talvj  in  this  nev*^  field  was  a  translation 
into  German  of  John  Pickering's  Indian  Languages  of  North 
America,  completed  in  1834.^®  Her  object  in  beginning  this 
task  was  to  make  Pickering's  manual  more  accessible  to  Ger- 
mans than  it  would  have  been  in  its  English  form.  She 
summed  up  the  extent  to  which  studies  in  the  Indian  tongues 
had  progressed.  In  Bethlehem,  the  central  point  of  the  Her- 
renhuters,  she  said,  there  was  a  complete  if  small  library  of 
essays,  dictionaries,  etc.  of  various  Indian  dialects,  written  by 
missionaries  of  the  brotherhood  and  put  there  to  inform  the 
younger  members.    Unfortunately  the  work  of  both  Germans 

^^  Memoirs,  vol.  iii,  part  ii. 

89  Pickering  wrote  this  essay  for  Francis  Lieber's  Encyclopaedia 
Americana,  an  encyclopedia  based  on  the  Brockhaus  Conversations-Lexi- 
kon.  Duponceau  was  the  great  influence  upon  Pickering,  while  Du- 
ponceau  in  turn  was  influenced  by  Humboldt. 

—  59  — 


and  Americans  up  to  this  time  had  fallen  into  obscurity.  A 
significant  step  forward  had  been  made  when  the  American 
Philosophical  Society  of  Sciences  in  Philadelphia  turned  their 
attention  to  this  work  in  1816.  Massachusetts  .  and  Rhode 
Island  followed  in  1819.  Many  writers  on  the  question  had 
not  seen  anything-  worthy  of  study  in  the  Indian  language,  but 
like  Herder  aand  Wilhelm  von  Humboldt  before  her,  she  felt 
that  in  a  knowledge  of  the  connection  of  languages  lay  the 
key  to  the  world's  history. 

The  great  difficulty,  she  continued,  in  learning  the  Indian 
language  lay  in  the  lack  of  harmony  in  the  various  orthog- 
raphies used  by  the  grammarians.  Men  of  various  nations  rep- 
resented sounds  by  symbols  equivalent  only  in  their  respective 
languages ;  so  that  in  order  to  form  a  conception  of  the  pronun- 
ciation one  had  to  refer  constantly  to  the  native  language  of 
the  men  who  studied  and  wrote  this  literature.  Herder  had 
recognized  another  reason  for  difficulty,  a  difficulty  which  was 
found  in  a  great  many  other  primitive  languages ;  the  fact 
that  the  more  life  was  inherent  in  a  language,  the  less  one 
thought  of  restraining  it  in  letters;  the  more  originally  it  ex- 
pressed the  unassorted  sounds  of  nature,  the  less  it  was  sus- 
ceptible of  reduction  to  written  form.  And  it  was  almost  be- 
yond the  power  of  a  foreigner  to  form  the  sounds,  let  alone 
represent  them  by  letters.^*^  Rasles,  who  spent  ten  years  among 
the  Indians  of  North  America,  complained  of  the  fact  that, 
even  with  the  greatest  care  and  attention,  he  was  often  able  to 
get  only  half  a  word.  Chaumont,  who  spent  fifty  years  among 
the  Hurons,  complained  of  their  inexpressible  accent.  Pickering 
chose  the  pronunciation  of  the  German  letters  as  the  simplest 
and  most  useful  inasmuch  as  they  were  not  radically  different 
from  the  Spanish,  Italian,  Swedish,  and  Danish,  and,  as  re- 
gards most  vowels,  agreed  with  the  French.  The  English 
seemed  built  upon  caprice  more  than  principle,  and  so  made  a 
mass  of  superfluous  letters  necessary. 

Pickering  said  that  the  original  inhabitants  of  this  land  pos- 
sessed a  language  different  in  its  idioms  from  all  the  languages 
of  the  known  world.    Duponceau,  who  had  made  a  study  of  all 

9°  Herder,  S'dmtliche   Wcrkc    (Suphan),  vol.  v. 

—  60  — 


the  languages  of  America  from  Greenland  to  Cape  Horn,  had 
proved  that  the  manifold  forms  of  human  speech  which  existed 
in  the  Eastern  Hemisphere  did  not  exist  in  the  Western.  One 
and  the  same  system  seemed  to  run  through  all  of  the  Indian 
languages;  however,  the  variations  of  the  objects  made  it 
difficult  for  a  knowledge  of  one  to  serve  as  an  open  gate  to  all. 
Duponceau  used  the  term  polysynthetic  in  speaking  of  the  In- 
dian languages. 

A  prejudice  of  long  standing  against  the  dialects  of  wild 
peoples  blinded  many  of  the  students  of  language  to  the  fact, 
which  seemed  established  in  Pickering's  mind,  that  the  native 
Americans  had  a  language  second  to  none  in  richness  of 
idioms.  Compare  this  view  with  the  following  of  Lawson's, — 
"Their  languages  or  tongues  are  so  deficient  that  you  cannot 
suppose  that  the  Indian  ever  could  express  themselves  in  such 
a  flight  of  stile  as  authors  would  have  you  believe.  They  are 
so  far  from  it,  that  they  are  but  just  able  to  make  one  another 
understand  what  they  talk  about."  ^^  In  trying  to  explain  such 
a  narrow  and  uninformed  viewpoint,  Pickering  thought  it  might 
be  due  to  a  general  failure  to  appreciate  the  fact  that  philosophy 
and  science  had  little  to  do  in  the  formation  of  a  language. 
This  explanation  seems  plausible,  and  indeed  logical,  in  view 
of  such  statements  as  that  made  by  one  illiberal  and  superficial 
student  of  language,  that  the  language  of  the  Indians  pos- 
sessed no  real  grammatical  forms  because  it  was  not  inflected 
like  the  Greek,  Latin,  and  Sanskrit.  Consequently,  judging 
from  the  standpoint  of  its  usefulness  in  assisting  in  the  de- 
velopment of  abstract  ideas,  he  gave  it  a  low  rank  among 
languages.  But  the  falsity  of  this  criticism  is  apparent  from  a 
cursory  examination  of  the  inflectional  power  of  various  In- 
dian parts  of  speech.  Mattatsch  gluppiweque,  as  Talvj  tells 
us,  is  equivalent  to  the  Latin  "nisi  veneris" — . 

Matta  negates  an  adverb. 

tsch  is  the  sign  of  futurity  with  which  an  adverb  is  inflected. 

gluppiweque  is  the  second  person,  plural,  present  subjunc- 
tive of  the  verb.^^ 

®^  Lawson,  An  account  of  the  Indian  of  North  Carolina,  1709. 
*-  Pickering — Indianische  Sprachen  Amerikas — Talvj,  p.  6. 

—  61  — 


Certainly  these  forms  show  a  higher  degree  of  inflection 
than  the  English,  French,  or  German,  It  was  with  reason  that 
Duponceau's  study  led  him  to  conclude  that,  on  the  whole, 
the  native  American's  language  was  rich  in  words  and  gram- 
matical forms. 

In  the  construction  of  their  rules  of  syntax  there  seemed 
to  exist  among  the  savage  dialects  the  greatest  order,  method, 
and  regularity.  Most  of  the  so-called  students  of  the  Indian 
languages  failed  to  go  deep  enough  into  their  essential  nature 
to  give  a  fair  decision.  Heckewelder,  the  friend  of  Dupon- 
ceau,  was  the  first  to  call  the  attention  of  the  public  to  this.  At 
the  time  he  was  looked  upon  by  critics  as  a  benevolent  ignora- 
mus, and  almost  as  a  misrepresenter  of  a  language  he  had 
studied  for  forty  years,  in  the  same  way  that  Duponceau  was 
considered  an  enthusiast  whose  feelings  had  run  away  with 
his  judgment.  Nevertheless,  the  statements  of  these  two  men 
are  easily  reinforced  by  conclusions  drawn  over  a  century  be- 
fore. The  Indian  apostle  Eliot  in  1666  spoke  of  the  fact  that 
the  aborigines  possessed  the  faculty  of  combining  syllables  to 
express  various  shades  of  meaning.  Because  of  this  system  of 
polysynthesis,  as  Duponceau  called  it,  logically  their  vocabu- 
lary would  be  boundless.^^  Roger  Williams  testified  to  the  fact 
that  the  Indian  language  was  not  impoverished.  In  1648,  in 
describing  a  little  English-Indian  dictionary  he  was  publishing, 
he  said:  "The  English  for  every  Indian  word  or  sentence  is 
in  a  straight  line  directly  across  from  the  Indian.  At  times 
there  are  two  words  for  the  same  thing — for  their  language 
is  extraordinarily  rich,  and  they  often  have  five  and  six  words 
for  one  and  the  same  thing."  ^* 

To  an  exact  translation  of  this  little  book  by  Pickering, 
Talvj  added  a  number  of  original  notes,  cotaining  many  in- 
teresting anecdotes  and  facts,  besides  explanations  of  the  text 
itself.    In  these  notes  she  gathered  together  the  various  philo- 

^^  Indianische  Sprachen  Amerikas,  p.  11. 

^*Zeisberger  wrote  a  complete  dictionary  of  the  Iroquois  language 
in  three  quarto  volumes.  The  first  from  A  to  H  is  unfortunately  lost, 
but  the  remainder,  which  is  preserved,  contains  over  eight  hundred 
pages.  This  would  show  that  the  Indian  languages  are  not  so  poor  as 
is  generally  imagined. 

—  62  — 


logical  explanations  of  all  the  greatest  students  of  the  Indian 
language, — Duponceau,  Heckewelder,  Zeisberger,  Vater,  Louis 
Cass,  Charlevoix,  and  Roger  Williams.  The  fifth  note  is  es- 
pecially interesting  as  illustrating  the  nature  of  Talvj's  in- 
vestigations. The  Cherokees,  at  the  time  of  her  early  res- 
idence in  America,  were  becoming  quite  civilized,  and  in  the 
process  were  offering  an  interesting  field  for  a  study  of 
cultural  development,  especially  in  the  origin  and  growth  of  a 
written  language.  She  translated  for  her  German  readers  a 
letter  from  Elias  Boudinot,  himself  a  Cherokee  on  his  father's 
side,  to  W.  Woodbridge,  the  editor  of  Annals  of  Education. 
In  this  letter  the  development  of  the  alphabet  was  described,  an 
alphabet  whose  simplicity  and  directness  were  such,  as  she 
said,  that  a  child  could  learn  to  speak  and  read  it  within  a  few 
days.  Its  content  is  of  unusual  interest,  while  as  a  contribution 
to  the  history  of  languages  it  is  very  valuable. 

Talvj's  second  work  on  the  Indians  dealt  with  their  folk- 
lore and  is  contained  in  her  book  entitled  Charakteristik  der 
VolksUeder,  a  discussion  of  which  is  reserv^ed  until  the  chapter 
on  "Popular  Poetry."  Her  research  work  on  this  phase  of  In- 
dian culture  did  not  take  the  shape  of  a  personal  investigation 
among  the  Indians  themselves,  but  rather  that  of  a  very 
thorough  examination  of  all  the  available  reports  of  the  ex- 
plorers, colonists,  and  missionaries  of  various  nations.  Among 
the  sources  thus  probed  were  Heckewelder,  Alexander  von 
Humboldt,  Wilhelm  von  Humboldt,  Kranz,  Julius,  Martius, 
Carver,  Williams,  Dunne,  and  Charlevoix.  Among  other  con- 
siderations, she  confronted  the  same  question  which  had  con- 
fronted practically  all  other  students  of  the  private  life  of  the 
red-men;  why  did  they  produce  practically  no  poetry?  Their 
life  and  customs  possessed  poetic  elements,  their  language  was, 
in  a  measure,  well  adapted  to  poetic  expression,  and  their  sur- 
roundings were  romantic  to  a  degree  always  picturesque  and 
often  sublime.  Her  conclusions  with  regard  to  this  subject 
were  peculiarly  original.  It  must  be  admitted,  she  said,  that  of 
all  uncivilized  peoples  the  American  Indians  in  their  original 
condition  stand  out  the  most  distinctively  poetic.  The  African 
races  are  either  rough  barbarians,  or  harmless  children  unable 

—  63  — 


to  approach  the  boundaries  of  an  intellectual  nonage.  The 
uncivilized  peoples  of  Asia,  on  the  other  hand,  are  enslaved  by 
despotism;  while  the  moutain  dwellers  and  Nomads  who 
alone  are  free  bear  a  certain  resemblance  to  the  warlike  In- 
dians,— a  resemblance,  to  be  sure,  modified  by  various  local 
conditions.  The  nationality  of  the  Indians  seems  to  harmonize 
with  their  surroundings  more  than  in  the  case  of  other  un- 
civilized peoples.  Their  misdeeds  appear  rather  the  natural 
outgrowth  of  an  immaturity  of  spiritual  development  than 
evidence  of  innate  wickedness.  Their  religion  is  the  religion 
of  nature,  wild,  free,  devoutly  poetic — for  they  are  pantheists, 
and  invest  God  with  the  forms  of  natural  surroundings  in 
which  they  live. 

That  the  mental  life  of  the  aborigines  was  undeveloped, 
she  brought  out  clearly  by  the  following  analysis:  The 
Indians  classified  all  objects  as  animate  and  inanimate. 
Every  animal  had  to  them  a  soul  and  a  claim  to  immortality. 
Yet  while  nature  was  the  object  of  their  reverence,  still  their 
belief  in  her  powers  was  not  materialism.  Many  of  their 
superstitious  sayings,  handed  down  secretly  from  father  to 
son,  were  without  doubt  as  childish  and  absurd  as  the  sayings 
of  other  uncivilized  peoples,  but  many  among  them  had  also  a 
wonderful  depth  and  meaning.  The  Indians  viewed  the  living 
world  as  a  great  body  whose  members  were  all  subject  to  the 
same  laws  of  birth  and  growth,  endurance  and  release.  The 
earth  was  to  them  a  common  mother,  who  carried  within  her 
the  seed  of  all  life,  and  from  whom  everything  that  existed 
received  its  first  form.  Thus  was  it  decreed  by  the  great  and 
good  spirit,  the  father  of  men,  of  animals,  and  of  plants.  The 
regions  below  the  earth  were  still  peopled  with  many  lower 
races.  The  Delaware  Indians  would  not  eat  a  rabbit  or  a  mole, 
for  some  soul  might  be  contained  therein,  retarded  in  its  de- 
velopment ;  and  they  would  have  no  way  of  telling  whether  or 
not  it  was  related  to  them.  Their  ancestors  called  the  rattle- 
snake grandfather,  and  neither  could  be  induced  by  any  price 
to  kill  it  themselves  nor  would  they  allow  white  men  to  slay  it. 
This  idea  of  their  relationship  to  animals  was  shown  in  their 
tribe  names,  Wolf,  Bear,  Tortoise,  Eagle.     The  superstitious 

—  64  — 


fear  of  the  owl  among  some  of  the  tribes,  and  the  behef  in  the 
significance  of  the  song  and  flight  of  certain  birds  came,  no 
doubt,  from  the  same  source.  Similar  bonds  connected  them 
with  the  whole  living  world.  Among  many  tribes  even  the 
stars  were  considered  members  of  a  family. 

One  of  the  features  among  the  customs  of  the  tribes  which 
struck  Talvj  as  being  highly  poetic  was  their  tendency  to  use 
specific  instead  of  general  names.  We  will  agree  with  her,  I 
think,  that  poetry  has  been  lost  when  descriptions  become 
general  and  vague ;  the  more  specific  and  individual  the  terms 
of  expression,  the  more  graphic  aand  clear  the  picture.  With 
such  a  treasure  of  poetic  material  lying  within  the  inmost 
nature  of  the  Indians,  she  felt  that  strong  counter-elements 
must  have  been  at  work  to  prevent  the  production  of  poetry 
and  to  make  what  they  had  produced  in  the  way  of  songs  and 
short  stories  so  meager  and  uninteresting.  The  Indians  to  her 
were  an  example  of  a  poetic  temperament  without  poetic  ex- 
pression. Talvj  cited  with  some  exceptions  in  opinion  the  state- 
ment given  by  Abbe  Clavigero  of  the  poetry  of  the  old  Mexican 
Indians — a  statement  differing  in  many  respects  from  the  one 
ordinarily  presented.  "The  language  of  the  Aztecs",  he  said, 
"was  bright,  pure,  and  pleasing,  full  of  pictures  and  re- 
current images  of  the  most  attractive  objects  in  nature,  such 
as  flowers,  trees,  and  rivers."  But  the  flattering  hues  of  the 
Abbe's  picture  were  dimmed  by  his  failure  to  offer  proof.  Abbe 
Molina,  again,  described  the  poetry  of  the  Araucana  Indians  in 
similarly  glowing  terms,  but  such  descriptions,  Talvj  thought, 
were  based  on  what  the  poetry  of  these  tribes  theoretically 
should  have  been,  and  not  what  it  really  was.  In  reality,  Talvj 
felt  that  they  were  not  poetic  largely  because  they  were  a  people 
in  whom  the  passions  were  stronger  than  the  imagination.  In- 
tense passions  were  never  productive  of  poetry  and,  when  filled 
with  these  passions,  the  Indians  were  fairly  robbed  of  their 
human  nature,  and  took  on  the  aspect  of  a  fiend.  As  to  their 
skill  in  the  use  of  metaphors,  it  was  rather  the  outgrowth  of 
their  method  of  living  than  an  outgrowth  of  the  imagination. 
Their  metaphors  were  taken  immediately  out  of  nature,  in 
which  they  had  more  confidence  than  in  the  realm  of  the  ab- 

—  65  — 


stract,  the  realm  from  which  so  many  educated  people  obtain 
their  metaphorical  expressions.  The  innumerable  traditions  of 
the  Indians  did  not  show  many  traces  of  imagination. 

The  love  for  solitude  which  the  Indians  possessed  seemed 
to  spring  from  their  love  of  independence  and  not  from  an 
inclination  to  cultivate  the  imagination.  Only  when  they  had 
cast  off  all  bonds  of  companionship  did  they  consider  them- 
selves absolutely  free.  Wilhelm  von  Humboldt  told  of  a  tribe 
in  South  America  which  possessed  this  trait  to  such  an  ex- 
tent that  even  the  children  at  times  left  their  parents  for  four 
or  five  days,  and  wandered  about  in  the  forests,  sustaining 
themselves  by  herbs  and  roots  of  trees.  Thus  deeply  in- 
grained in  their  souls  was  the  love  of  independence. 

The  Indians,  again,  continues  Talvj,  were  by  nature  re- 
served and  not  at  all  prone  to  disclose  their  emotions,  a  fact 
which  militated  against  the  production  of  lyric  poetry.  Among 
themselves  the  redmen  were  not  gloomy,  secretive  people, 
as  they  appeared  to  the  white  men.  Before  others  they  seemed 
to  be  completely  absorbed  in  themselves  and  given  up  to  melan- 
choly. All  w^ho  had  had  an  opportunity  of  observing  them 
when  among  their  own  people,  and  when  not  disturbed  by 
suspicious  fears,  described  them  as  extraordinarily  talkative 
and  cheerful,  and  full  of  a  certain  dry  satirical  wit.  But  Talvj 
doubts  whether  their  talk  was  ever  of  a  very  sensible  nature. 

Still  another  element  which,  in  Talvj 's  opinion,  worked 
against  the  production  of  poetry,  was  the  absence  of  the  pas- 
sion of  love  among  the  Indians ;  an  absence  as  to  which,  how- 
ever, she  admits  there  was  still  some  disagreement  among 
writers.  Generally  speaking,  the  Indians  undoubtedly  were  not 
demonstrative.  A  number  of  travelers  agreed  on  the  posses- 
sion by  the  savages  of  a  certain  tender  regard  and  affection 
for  the  children,  but  the  general  attitude  toward  the  wife  was 
one  of  indifference.  Their  friendships  were  based  not  so 
much  on  the  principles  of  affection  as  on  the  principles  of 
honor  and  duty.  Talvj  would  not  have  us  think  that  the  In- 
dians were  incapable  of  the  tenderer  emotions,  but  they  were 
not  dominated  by  them.  Perhaps  this  explains  an  apparent 
absence  of  jealousy  among  them.   Two  of  the  love  songs  which 

—  66  — 


she  succeeded  in  obtaining  through  the  kindness  of  Dr.  JuHus 
will  suffice  to  show  that  the  depth  of  feeling  expressed  is 
not  great. 

I. 

Zwei  Tage  ist's  nun,  zwei  Tage, 
Dass  letzt  ich  Nahrung  genommen, 
Zwei  Tage  nun,  zwei  Tage ! 

Fiir  dich,  fiir  dich,  mein  Lieb 

Fiir  dich,  ist's,  dass  ich  traure,  i 

Fiir  dich,  fiir  dich,  mein  Lieb. 

Die  Fluth  ist  tief  und  breit, 
Auf  der  mein  Lieb  gesegelt, 
Die  Fluth  ist  tief  und  breit! 

Fiir  dich  ist's,  dass  ich  traure, 
Fiir  dich,  fiir  dich,  mein  Lieb ! 
Fiir  dich  ist's,  dass  ich  traure !.^^ 

IL  ■ 

Wahrhaftig,   ihn  lieb  ich  allein, 
Dess   Herz   ist   wie   der   siisse    Saft, 
Der  siisse  Saft  des  Ahornsbaumes ! 
Wahrhaftig,  ihn  lieb  ich  allein !  ^6 

Ihn  lieb  ich,  ihn  lieb  ich,  dessen  Herz 
Verwandt  ist  dem  Laube,  dem  Espenlaub, 
Dem  Blatt  das   immer  lebt  und  bebt, 
Wahrhaftig,  ihn  lieb  ich  allein !  ^^ 

The  musical  element,  we  are  told  by  Talvj,  was  lacking 
almost  entirely  in  their  songs ;  and  this  was  granted  even  by  the 
most  enthusiastic  advocates  of  the  Indian  language.  Alexander 
von  Humboldt,  in  speaking  of  the  Carabeans,  said  that  they 
spoke  with  great  fluency,  in  a  loud  voice,  and  with  a  somewhat 
accented  expression.  This  would  give  a  slight  poetical  nature 
to  their  conversation.  But  their  life  was  such,  he  continued, 
that  their  conversation  did  not  seem  to  grow  out  of  an  over- 
powering emotion.     Ambition  was  their  motive  force,  not  the 

5^  Talvj,  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  p.  123. 
^^  Ibidem,  p.  123. 

—  67  — 


emotions.  These,  then,  were  some  of  the  reasons  set  forth  by 
Talvj  as  operating  in  restraint  of  poetic  productions  among 
the  Indians. 

There  was,  however,  one  form  of  poetic  expression  current 
among  them  besides  their  conversation,  and  that  was  their 
dancing.    In  marked  contradistinction  to  that  of  other  nations, 
as  Talvj  was  especially  qualified  to  judge  from  her  extensive 
acquaintance  with  the  folk-lore  of  many  other  peoples,  the 
Indian  dance  was  not  merely  a  favorite  pastime,  but  was  a 
language  expressive  of  the  most  intimate  feelings.    The  dance 
was  to  the  Indians  what  song  was  to  other  nations.    The  per- 
fect abandon  of  their  war-dance;  the  reverential  tread  of  the 
sacrifice-dance;  the  slow  movement  of  the  peace-dance,  gave 
perfect  vent  to  their  varying  emotions.   As  accompaniment  they 
sang  single  ejaculatory  words,  which  the  expressive  movements 
of  the  dance  rendered  entirely  intelligible.     Talvj 's  apprecia- 
tion of  the  poetry  of  the  Indian  dances  was  certainly  an  evi- 
dence of  her  German  temperament, — a  temperament  which  saw 
poetry  in  all  harmony.    To  most  students  of  the  Indians  their 
dances  were  grewsome  and  savage,  an  appeal  to  the  lowest 
passions,  and  an  expression  of  absolute  barbarism.    Charlevoix, 
who  wrote  a  book  about  the  Iroquois  Indians,  gave  the  general 
characteristics  of  their  songs  as  wildness  and  pain.      Their 
tones,  he  said,  were  monotonous  and  rigid.    Yet  the  terror  as- 
cribed to  the  Indian  war-songs  must  have  lain  in  the  method  of 
singing  them,  for  the  words  themselves  do  not  strike  terror  to 
the  reader.    The  following  war-song  of  the  Iroquois  tribes  will 
illustrate  the  mild  character  of  the  words. 

Nun  geh'  ich,  nun  geh'  ich  zum  freud'gen  Geschafte 
'•  O  grosser  Geist,  erbarme  dich  mein, 

Im  freud'gen  Geschafte  hab'  Erbarmen  mit  mir! 

Auf  meinem  Wege  gieb  gutes   Gluck, 
Und  habe  Erbarmen,  o  grosser  Geist, 
Mit  meinem  freud'gen   Geschafte !  ^^ 

In  an  interesting  way  Talvj  describes  the  folk-lore  of  the 
Greenlanders  and  Eskimaux,  who,  although  of  apparently  dif- 

97  Talvj,  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  p.  119. 

—  68  — 


ferent  origin,  spoke  a  language  of  almost  the  same  construction 
and  character  as  that  of  the  Indians.  Their  songs,  like  those 
of  the  Indians,  had  neither  rhyme  nor  meter ;  they  consisted  of 
short  irregular  sentences,  which  were  recited  with  a  sort  of 
rhythmic  intonation.  The  funeral  dirges  of  the  Greenlanders 
were  very  similar  to  those  of  the  Indians,  especially  the  Sioux ; 
perhaps  not  so  much  in  content  as  in  the  manner  of  singing. 
She  saw  a  truly  poetic  emotion  evidenced  as  the  mourners  and 
friends,  in  tones  of  woe  and  sorrow,  chanted  the  songs  of  be- 
reavement, interrupted,  as  it  were,  after  each  sentence  by  a 
loud  cry  of  grief  from  all  present.  It  is  upon  the  authority  of 
Carver,  whose  travels  among  the  Indians  were  very  extensive, 
that  Talvj  traces  the  similarity  between  these  northern  dirges 
and  those  of  the  Sioux  of  the  west.  As  to  similarity  of  content 
the  reader  may  judge  for  himself  from  a  few  verses  of  one  of 
each  nation's  funeral  dirges.  Through  Kranz,  the  famous 
Greenland  traveler,  Talvj  was  able  to  get  a  so-called  Gron- 
landische  Leichenklage. 

Wehe  mir!  dass  ich  deinen  Sitz  ansehen  soil,  der  nun  leer  ist!  Deine 
Mutter  bemiihet  sich  vergebens,  dir  die  Kleider  zu  trocknen ! 

Siehe  meine  Freude  ist  ins  Finstere  gegangen  und  in  den  Berg 
verkrochen ! 

Ehedem  ging  ich  des  Abends  aus  und  freute  mich !  ich  strengte  meine 
Augen  an  und  wartete  auf  dein  Kommen !  ^^ 

Compare  with  this  the  Indian  Leichenklage  of  a  mother  at  the 
grave  of  her  little  child. 

O  hatt'st  du  gelebt,  mein  Sohn,  gelebt. 
Bald  hatte  und  wie!   deine  junge  Hand 
Den  machtigen  Bogen  spannen  gelemt! 

Verderben,  mein  Sohn,  o  hatt'st  du  gelebt, 
Verderben  hatten  bald     deine  Pfeil' 
Den  Feinden  uns'res  Stammes  gebracht. 

Du  hattest  getrunken  ihr  Blut,  ihr  Blut, 

Und   hattest  verzehret   ihr   Fleisch,    ihr    Fleisch, 

Und  Sklaven  in  Menge  hatt'st  du  gemacht !  ®^  u.  s.  w. 

99  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  p.  120. 
^^  Charaktcristik  der  Volkslieder,  p.  118. 

—  69  — 


The  criticism  made  by  many  travelers  of  the  absolute 
spiritual  poverty  of  the  Indians  was  very  distasteful  to  Talvj. 
She  felt  that  such  a  judgment  was  neither  fair  nor  just,  for 
most  of  the  Indian  tribes  with  which  civilized  people  had  come 
in  contact  had  been  warlike  peoples,  whose  souls  were  deadened 
to  all  poetic  feeling  by  their  unequal  struggle  for  existence 
against  the  white  man.  As  she  suggests,  we  have  not  judged 
the  Indians  under  original  or  even  normal  conditions.  Such 
a  study  was  quite  unusual.  Among  the  innumerable  accounts 
of  the  Indians  prior  to  her  time  and  even  after  her  time,  Indian 
culture  as  such  was  not  considered.  From  the  originality  of 
her  work  in  this  hitherto  unexplored  field,  I  think,  I  may  justly 
say  that  Talvj  played  an  important  part  in  creating  an  interest 
in  America's  original  inhabitants  among  the  Americans  them- 
selves. 

It  seems  logical  to  infer  that  Longfellow  received  inspira- 
tion from  her  for  his  famous  poem  Hiawatha.  This  poetic  in- 
terpretation of  the  Indians  and  their  surroundings  made  by 
Talvj  is  the  distinctive  characteristic  of  Longfellow's  poem. 
If  one  follows  a  reading  of  Talvj 's  essay  with  a  reading  of 
Hiawatha,  he  is  struck  at  once  by  the  feeling  of  an  indefinable 
similarity.  It  cannot  be  attributed  to  any  other  cause  than  a 
similarity  of  poetic  interpretation.  Both  put  into  their  in- 
terpretation the  romance  of  human  existence  and  raise  the 
Indians  out  of  the  state  of  animal  savagery  so  commonly  at- 
tributed to  them. 

A  careful  study  of  Longfellow's  letters  and  journals,  as 
published  by  Samuel  Longfellow,  does  not  reveal  any  direct 
mention  of  Talvj.  In  a  letter  written  by  Dr.  N.  W.  Julius  to 
Longfellow  on  May  28,  1838,  the  former  says,  "This  day  I  had 
a  long  interesting  letter  from  Mrs.  Robinson  [Talvj]  who  will 
pass  some  time  in  Dresden."  This  indicates  that  Longfellow 
knew  Mrs  Robinson,  at  least  in  a  literary  way.^""     Another 

^0''  The  following  quotation  from  the  review  of  her  Literature  of 
the  Slavic  Nations  found  in  volume  37  of  Graham's  Magazine  seems 
to  indicate  a  literary  acquaintanceship  also :  "Two  or  three  poems 
relating  to  the  desolate  conditions  of  motherless  orphans  are  introduced 
by  a  reference  to  a  Danish  ballad,  which  we  trust  that  Longfellow  will 
search  after  and  translate. 

—  70  — 


indication  which  points  toward  his  acquaintance  with  her  was 
their  mutual  friendship  with  the  family  of  Karl  Follen.  Long- 
fellow knew  Duponceau  and  Pickering  also,  as  is  indicated 
in  a  letter  to  his  father  dated  October  25,  1840.  The  reference 
is  in  regard  to  a  French  article  which  the  poet  had  written  for 
the  North  American  Review  the  preceding  year.  He  says,  "Mr. 
Duponceau  of  Philadelphia  has  read  it;  and  wrote  to  Mr. 
Pickering  to  say  that  he  liked  it,  and  that  I  had  taken  the  true 
ground."  Besides  these  mutual  literary  friends  Longfellow's 
enthusiasm  for  the  German  language  and  German  romanticism 
suggests  another  bond  of  acquaintance  between  him  and  Talvj. 
On  June  22,  1854,  he  writes  in  his  Journal,  "I  have  at 
length  hit  upon  a  plan  for  a  poem  on  the  American  Indian.  It 
is  to  weave  their  beautiful  traditions  into  a  whole."  And  on 
September  19  he  writes,  ''Working  away  with  Tanner,  Hecke- 
welder,  and  sundry  books  about  the  Indian."  HiawatJm  ap- 
peared in  1855;  Talvj's  essay  on  Indian  folk-lore  in  1840. 
The  precedence  of  her  work  is  significant  to  tne  mference 
which  I  have  drawn. 

Chapter  IV. 
Studies  in  Popular  Poetry. 

"Popular  poetry  is  not  the  heritage  of  a  few  blessed  in- 
dividuals ;  by  it  is  meant  that  general  poetic  productivity  which 
pervades  the  mass  of  men  as  it  pervades  nature.  Among  the 
nations  of  Europe  it  is  a  dying  plant ;  here  and  there  a  lonely 
relic  is  discovered  among  the  rocks,  preserved  by  the  invigorat- 
ing powers  of  the  mountain  air.  But  for  the  most  part  civiliza- 
tion has  ruthlessly  swept  it  from  its  path,  and  in  the  future  we 
may  expect  to  find  merely  dried  specimens,  preserved  between 
two  sheets  of  paper  and  securely  guarded  in  a  cabinet."  This 
was  Talvj's  conception  of  popular  poetry  as  she  expressed  it 
in  the  introduction  to  her  study  of  "Slavic  Popular  Poetry"  in 
the  North  American  Review  for  1846.^°^ 

101  This  idea  is  refuted  by  Professor  Adolph  Hauffen  (Prag)  in 
the  Zeitschrift  des  Vereins  fiir  Volkskunde,  vol  iv,  (1894)  p.  5  ff.  "To- 
day we  can  speak  of  a  dying  out  of  popular  poetry  only  in  those  dis- 
tricts and  among  those  people  where  literary  German  poetry  prevails. 

—  71  — 


Before  we  consider  the  service  she  rendered  to  the  science 
of  comparative  Hterature  and  to  the  cause  of  human  culture 
by  this  remarkable  study,  a  brief  review  of  the  historical  growth 
of  interest  in  popular  poetry  may  be  in  place.    When  old  Ger- 
man folk-lore  was  at  its  height,  there  seemed  to  be  no  definite 
and  sharp  distinction  between  artistic  and  folk  poetry,  as  there 
was  no   marked   difference  in  the  education  of  the  various 
classes  of  people.    The  songs  of  the  people  were  sung  in  city 
and  village  alike  by  all  classes,  carried  from  one  place  to  an- 
other by  wandering  minstrels,  or  again  printed  on  leaflets  and 
distributed  at  the  fairs  or  even  on  the  streets.     Such  ballads 
or  lyrics  were  named  variously,  according  to  the  theme,  "street 
songs",  "peasant  songs",  "love  songs",  "shepherd  songs",  etc., 
but  the  idea  of  calling  them  popular  or  folk  songs  seems  never 
to  have  occurred  to  anyone.     Soon,  however,  with  the  intor- 
duction  of  Humanism  and  classical  learning  the  nation  be- 
came divided  into  two  distinct  classes,  the  one  composed  of 
those  possessing  a  classical  education,  the  other  of  those  who 
did  not.     In  the  seventeenth  century  the  breach  became  es- 
pecially pronounced.    The  old  popular  songs  were  ignored  by 
the  learned  scholars  and  everything  that  belonged  to  the  un- 
learned   masses    fell  into    disfavor.     From  this  time  on  un- 
til the  time  of  Herder  "Volk"  stood  for  rabble.^^^^     ^he  ver- 
nacular and  the  classical  languages  were  strictly  differentiated, 
and  because  of  the  supposed  vulgarity  of  expression  of  the 
people  the  former  was  driven  out  of  literature.    The  deadening 
theory  of  poetry  as  something  purely  formal,  artistic,  conven- 
tional,   and   didactic — a   prerogative   of   the   educated — grew 
apace. 

From  a  literary-historical  standpoint  the  erasure  of  this 
division  line  marks  the  beginning  of  the  great  folk  song  move- 
ment. At  the  head  of  the  movement  stood  Michel  Montaigne 
with  his  study  of  Brazilian  songs,  from  which  he  concluded 

102  To  Herder  "Volk"  meant  the  eternal  source  of  all  that  was  new 
and  original.  Today,  largely  through  the  influence  of  the  French  Revo- 
lution, the  term  has  the  added  attribute  of  political.  We  are  indebted  to 
Herder  for  the  word  "Volkslied",  a  word  which  practically  defies  Eng- 
lish translation.  Cf.  also  Hildebrand,  "Materialien  zur  Geschichte  des 
deutschen  Volkslieds,"  Zcitschrift  fiir  den  deutschen  Unterricht,  vol.  v. 

—  72  — 


that  popular  and  purely  natural  poetry  has  a  naive  grace 
which  compares  favorably  with  the  beauty  of  artificial  poetry. 
An  intense  interest  in  some  of  the  songs  of  the  original  in- 
habitants of  America  sprang  up  in  Germany,  the  same  song 
often  appearing  under  various  names.  As  remarked  elsewhere, 
it  was  considered  a  great  discovery  when  it  was  found  that 
even  the  Indians  had  their  poets.  In  England  the  impulse  to 
recognize  popular  poetry  came  through  Addison,  who  was  the 
first  to  call  attention  to  the  old  ballads;  it  was  given  further 
strength  by  the  appearance  of  Ossian;  and  finally,  in  1765, 
found  its  full  expression  in  Percy's  Reliques  of  Ancient  Eng- 
lish Poetry.  An  acquaintance  with  the  existence  and  merits  of 
popular  poetry,  and  a  desire  to  collect  it,  were  thus  born  in 
many  lands  at  once ;  but  the  nurturing  into  full  growth  and 
fruitful  significance  of  this  appreciation  became  the  task  of 
Germany. 

When  the  Reliques  came  into  Germany,  Lessing  had  already 
prepared  the  way  by  his  words,  "Poets  are  born  under  every 
sky,  and  poetic  expression  is  not  the  property  solely  of  culti- 
vated peoples."  ^^^  Opitz,  Haller,  Lessing,  Hagedorn  had  each 
in  turn  called  attention  to  the  store  of  popular  songs.  The 
theory  of  its  study,  however,  had  not  yet  been  developed  fully 
enough  to  afford  popular  poetry  complete  recognition ;  the 
requisite  atmosphere  was  still  in  the  process  of  creation.  During 
the  eighteenth  century,  indeed,  a  shortlived  distinction  between 
natural  and  popular  poetry  was  frequently  advanced,  especial- 
ly by  Klopstock  and  those  of  his  school  who  scorned  the  "un- 
poetic  rabble,"  but  reverenced  the  "song  of  soulful  nature." 
Into  this  pregnant  atmosphere  Percy's  Reliques  came.  The 
effect  was  immediate  and  far-reaching.  Ballad  poetry  was 
reborn,  with  Herder  as  its  father ;  and  his  epoch-making  work, 
Volkslieder, — for  which,  it  is  true,  he  had  laid  a  foundation 
as  early  as  1770  and  1771  by  his  studies  of  Shakespeare,  Os- 
sian, and  Oriental  poetry, — appeared  in  1778.  In  1772  he 
had  begun  a  diligent  study  of  the  Reliques  which,  his 
wife    tells    us,    became    one    of    his    great    sources    of    re- 

103  Erwin  Kircher,  "Geschichte  des  Volkslieds"  Zeitschrift  fur  deut- 
sche  Wortforschung,  vol.  iv.  p.  6. 

—  73  — 


creation.  Indeed,  he  regarded  the  songs  of  primitive 
peoples  as  a  source  of  inspiration  second  only  to  his  Bible. 
The  following  year  stood  out  as  a  great  mountain  peak  in 
German  literature ;  Klopstock  finished  his  epic  the  Messiah, 
Goethe  published  his  Gots,  Burger  produced  his  Lenore, 
and  Herder  wrote  his  essay  on  Ossian  and  the  Songs  of  Old 
Peoples.  This  latter  came  almost  like  a  revelation,  and  re- 
sulted immediately  in  a  great  flood  of  translations  of  various 
ballads  from  the  Reliques,  with  a  consequent  dissemination  of 
interest  in  this  kind  of  poetry.  But  the  most  important  pledge 
of  Herder's  interest  in  folk-lore  was,  as  we  have  remarked,  his 
Volkslieder,  a  work  of  incomparable  influence  upon  the  de- 
velopment of  German  literature,  in  that  it  caused  a  just  valua- 
tion to  be  placed  upon  popular  poetry.  It  has  been  called  the 
greatest  forerunner  in  modern  times  of  the  scientific  and 
aesthetic  development  of  Germany,  because  it  recognized 
the  deep  inner  emotions  of  the  most  remote  peoples  and 
respected  their  individuality;  and  because  out  of  its  romantic 
conception  of  folk  lore  was  bom  the  philology  or  the  scientific 
study  of  folk  languages.  It  pointed  out  that  more  than  any 
other  form  of  expression  folk  poetry  was  truly  the  voice  of 
the  people,  beyond  the  powers  of  the  individual,  and  the  out- 
growth of  the  dynamic  strength  of  the  whole  unit."*  Herder 
did  not  realize  at  this  time  that  countless  treasures  of  song  lay 
concealed  within  the  limits  of  Germany,  awaiting  the  magic 
word  which  should  awaken  them  into  new  life.  A  few  years 
later,  in  1805,  the  glad  note  of  discovery  was  sounded  by 
Des  Knaben  Wunderhorn  which  awakened  an  echo  of  a 
thousand  tongues,  and  paved  the  way  for  Ludwig  Uhland 
with  his  great  work,  Alte  hoch-  imd  niederdeutsche  Volks- 
lieder in  1844  and  1845.  Thus  far  popular  poetry  had  been 
studied  from  a  cultural  and  aesthetic  point  of  view  and  not  by 
philological  methods.  As  a  cultural  element  it  greatly  influenced 
the  poets  of  romanticism.,  Heine,  Morike  and  Eichendorff.  With 
Uhland's  critical  edition  the  study  of  popular  poetry  became  a 

104  Biirger  expresses  somewhat  the  same  idea  in  his  Hersens-Erguss 
iiber  Volkspoesie  written  in  1775.  He  says  in  substance  that  all  poetry- 
should  be  popular  in  order  to  have  the  seal  of  perfection. 

—  74  — 


matter  of  scholarship  and  its  great  influence  on  poets  seemed 
to  stop. 

Just  twenty  years  before  this  Talvj  had  entered  upon  the 
study  of  popular  poetry,  and  through  her  work  with  the  Volks- 
liedcr  der  Serhen  had  gained  an  enviable  position  among  the 
scholars  of  Europe.  Ten  years  later  by  a  paper  in  the  Biblical 
Repository  on  the  "Historical  View  of  Slavic  Literature,"  she 
took  her  place  among  those  who  were  beginning  to  introduce 
this  kind  of  literature  into  America.  This  paper  was  followed 
in  1836  by  a  discussion  of  the  "Popular  Poetry  of  the  Teu- 
tonic Nations"  in  the  North  American  Review;  in  1840  by 
the  epoch-making  work,  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder;'^'^^  in 
1842  by  a  paper  on  "Spanish  Popular  Poetry"  again  in  the 
North  American  Review,  in  1852  by  an  enlarged  and  revised 
book  form  of  her  early  work  on  Slavic  literature ;  in  1853  by 
an  article  on  "French  Poetry"  in  Putnam's  Magazine ;  and  in 
1869  by  a  short  sketch  entitled  "Die  Kosaken  und  ihre  histo- 
rischen  Lieder"  in  Westermann's  Monatshefte. 

The  work  of  native  Americans  in  this  field  was  at  that  time 
practically  a  negligible  quantity.  Longfellow  felt  the  strength 
and  power  of  the  movement,  but  never  gave  any  extensive  ex- 
pression to  it.  An  article  which  he  wrote  for  the  North  Amer- 
ican Rezncza  on  "Moral  and  Religious  Poetry  of  Spain"  could 
not,  as  may  be  inferred  from  the  title,  compare  with  the  kind 
of  work  done  in  Germany  and  in  later  years  by  American 
scholars  such  as  F.  J.  Child  and  F.  B.  Gummere. 

A  close  investigation  of  TalVj's  two  larger  works,  Characte- 
ristik  der  V olkslieder  and  Literature  of  the  Slavic  Nations,  will 
reveal  the  character  of  her  contributions,  and  the  justice  of  the 
claim  that  they  were  truly  cultural  in  nature.  The  Literature 
of  the  Slavic  Nations,  while  it  did  not  assume  its  present  book 
form  prior  to  1852,  originally  appeared  in  the  form  of  a 
rather  lengthy  paper  in  the  Biblical  Repository  for  1834.  In 
speaking  of  this  article  in  the  preface  which  he  wrote  for  its 

10^  "The  simplicity  of  the  ballads  which  Mrs.  Robinson  has  so  co- 
piously translated,"  says  Graham's  Magazine,  "will  win  many  readers  who 
take  but  little  interest  in  intellectual  history."  Cf.  Graham's  vol.  xxxvii, 
p.  66. 

—  75  — 


later  expansion  her  husband  said,  "The  essay  was  received  with 
favor  by  the  public ;  and  awakened  an  interest  in  many  minds, 
as  laying  open  a  new  field  of  information,  hitherto  almost  in- 
accessible to  the  English  reader,"  An  insistent  request  on  the 
part  of  scholars  and  public  libraries  led  to  its  recasting  into 
book  form.  These  requests  undoubtedly  growing  out  of  the 
excessive  meagerness  of  sources  of  information  regarding 
Slavic  literature  represented  a  general  anticipation  that  this 
contribution  would  come  very  close  to  presenting  this  literature 
as  one  great  whole.  Other  studies  had  been  made,  but,  for  the 
most  part,  merely  were  sketches  of  separate  phases.^"*^ 

At  the  time  Talvj  wrote,  the  Slavic  population  amounted 
to  nearly  three  times  that  of  the  United  States.  The  gigantic 
strides  of  Russia,  the  fate  of  Poland,  the  cry  of  Panslavism 
that  had  recently  resounded  through  Europe,  had  excited  an 
intense  interest  in  the  Slavonic  race  throughout  the  civilized 
world.  Thoughtful  men  often  asked  themselves  whether  the 
Slavic  nations  were  yet  to  overflow  the  Germans  of  Western 
Europe  as  did  the  Celts,  to  form  a  new  element  of  population 
with  a  new  political  and  intellectual  life.  The  mere  considera- 
tion of  such  a  possibility  suggested  the  question,  what  was  the 
nature  of  the  moral  and  intellectual  impulses,  what  the 
tendencies  and  spirit  of  these  new  men? 

The  literature  of  the  Slavs  had  been  studied  and  discussed 
in  various  ways  and  for  various  purposes.  More  or  less  critical 
ingenuity  was  manifested  in  all  of  the  studies,  and  all  pos- 
sessed a  certain  element  of  thorough  research ;  but  until  the 
appearance  of  Talvj 's  book  no  author  had  succeeded  in  pre- 
senting the  results  in  a  pleasing  and  thoroughly  intelligible 
manner.  In  the  words  of  the  Independent  for  July  11,  1850, 
"It  introduces  the  reader  to  a  field  of  literary  research  which 
has  long  lain  in  comparative  obscurity,  but  to  which  recent 

1"^  She  herself  called  it  merely  an  outline.  The  North  American  Re- 
view (vol.  Ixxi,  p.  329  ff )  in  speaking  of  it  said :  "The  outline  is  not 
only  drawn  with  correctness  and  precision  but  the  filling  up  is  very 

thorough  and  satisfactory Even  one  who  is  a  Slavic  scholar  by 

parentage  and  early  education  can  recur  with  profit  to  this  work  for 
information  concerning  the  literary  character  and  pursuits  of  his  country- 
men." 

-^  76  — 


political  struggles  have  given  a  melancholy  interest All 

are  eager  to  learn  more  of  races,  some  of  which,  hitherto  un- 
known almost  in  public  affairs,  have  burst  like  a  torrent  upon 
the  field  of  poHtical  strife,  shaking  Europe  to  its  center,  per- 
forming prodigies  of  valor,  and  exhibiting  a  degree  of  en- 
thusiasm, energy,  persistence,  and  tact,  and  an  extent  of  re- 
sources almost  unparalleled  in  the  history  of  modern  warfare." 

In  the  details  of  her  work  Talvj  showed  an  almost  per- 
fect knowledge  of  her  subject  matter.  There  were  opportuni- 
ties for  difference  in  opinion  as  to  certain  theories  of  origin 
of  the  Slavic  languages,  as  to  certain  viewpoints  of  predomi- 
nance of  the  Russian  branch  over  all  other  Slavic  branches, 
and,  without  doubt,  there  was  room  for  a  decided  variance  with 
her  treatment  of  the  Polish  people.  But  this  was  necessarily 
true  in  the  case  of  a  work  worth  while.  Those  who  differed 
with  her,  and  there  were  some,  had  seldom  as  good  grounds 
for  their  views  as  she.  The  book  first  presented  the  theolog- 
ical background,  and  then  considered  in  turn  the  political,  philo- 
sophical, and  literary  history  with  a  depth  of  investigation, 
vigor  of  analysis,  and  a  comprehensiveness  rarely  exhibited 
in  a  study  of  this  sort.  "The  volume  is  characterized  by 
the  extent  and  thoroughness  of  its  investigation,  its  acute 
and  judicious  criticisms,  its  warm-hearted  recognition  of  true 
poetry,  even  in  an  humble  garb,  and  the  forces  and  facility 
of  its  style,"  said  Harper's  Magazine  which,  with  the  North 
American  Review  was  then  perhaps  the  official  organ  of 
expression  of  the  American  public  in  literary  matters. 

Her  treatment  of  the  subject  was  divided  into  four  parts, 
exclusive  of  an  introduction  in  which  the  author  gave  briefly 
but  concisely  an  historical  sketch  of  the  Slavs  in  regard  to  their 
origin,  their  mythology,  their  early  language,  and  the  various 
branches  of  their  language.  Part  one  was  in  a  measure  a 
continuance  of  the  introduction,  in  that  it  gave  a  history  of  the 
old  or  church  languages  and  literature,  a  literature  over  which 
scholars  and  philologists  had  never  agreed,  but  which  had 
ever  afforded  a  tempting  field  of  research.  In  parts  two  and 
three  the  Slavs  were  treated  under  two  general  divisions :  the 
Eastern,   embracing  the   Russians,   the   Illyrico-Servians,   the 

—  77  —     ■ 


Croatians,  the  Slovenzi,  and  the  Bulgarians ;  and  the  Western, 
embracing  the  Bohemians,  the  Slovaks,  the  Poles  and  theVendes 
in  Lusatia.  The  work  gave  some  account  of  the  characteristics 
which  distinguished  these  different  dialects,  and  traced  their 
literature  from  its  earliest  period  down  to  the  time  at  which 
she  wrote.  She  showed  that  the  principal  divisions  of  the  Slavic 
literature  were  the  Russian,  the  Bohemian,  and  the  Polish; 
that  the  other  branches  of  this  great  family  possessed  a  litera- 
ture of  humbler  pretensions,  while  some  of  them — like  the 
Slovaks,  who  inhabited  the  northwestern  part  of  Hungary — 
had  little  that  deserved  the  name.  The  fourth  part  of  the  book 
dealt  with  the  folk  lore  of  the  Slavic  nations,  and  was  perhaps 
the  most  interesting  portion. 

About  twenty-five  years  before,  Talvj  had  been  the  means 
of  making  known  and  appreciated  the  exquisite  charm  of  Ser- 
vian poetry  throughout  Europe.  Now  she  again  paid  tribute 
and  homage  to  its  merit,  which,  as  she  showed,  lay  not  in  its 
studied  elegance  and  careful  polish,  but  in  its  unequalled  sim- 
plicity and  naturalness.  She  put  it  thus:  "All  that  the  other 
Slavic  nations,  or  the  Germans,  or  the  Scotch,  or  the  Spaniards 
possess  of  popular  poetry  can  at  the  utmost  be  compared  with 
the  lyrical  part  of  the  Servian  songs,  called  by  them  female 
songs,  because  they  are  sung  only  by  females  and  youths ;  but 
the  long  extemporized  epic  compositions,  by  which  a  peasant 
bard  sitting  in  a  large  circle  of  other  peasants,  in  unpre- 
meditated but  perfectly  regular  and  harmonious  verse,  cele- 
brates the  heroic  deeds  of  their  ancestors  or  contemporaries, 
has  no  parallel  in  the  whole  history  of  literature  since  the  days 
of  Homer."  ^°^  It  seemed  to  be  the  general  consensus  of 
opinion  that  this  was  the  most  interesting  phase  of  her  book, 
largely,  as  one  New  York  paper  remarked,  because  the  speci- 
mens of  poetry  furnished  by  the  author  are  remarkable  for 
their  freshness,  purity,  and  energy  of  thought,  and  are  rendered 
into  graceful  and  well  chosen  English.  The  Bz'^ning  Post  also 
esteemed  this  portion  of  the  book  the  most  interesting.  "The 
peculiar  genius  of  this  literature,"  it  said,  "is  delineated  in  a 
skillful  analysis  and  samples  of  the  poems  are  given  in  Eng- 

^°^  Talvj,  Literature  of  the  Slavic  Nations,  p.  114. 

—  78  — 


lish  preserving  the  peculiar  rhythm,  and,  as  far  as  may  be,  the 
verbal  characteristics  of  the  original.  In  these  we  seem  to  have 
a  sort  of  key  to  the  character  of  the  race,  and  we  rise  from  a 
perusal  of  these  delightful  pages  with  a  feeling  of  closer  ac- 
quaintance with  the  nations  of  the  Slavic  race."  The  force  and 
ease  with  which  she  translated  these  poems  was  indeed  re- 
markable, inasmuch  as  she  was  turning  them  into  a  language 
which  was  not  her  mother  tongue,  and  which  many  hold  to  be 
one  of  the  hardest  of  all  languages  to  master.  Her  quick  adap- 
tation to  the  idioms  of  English  is  one  of  the  strongest  tributes 
to  her  keen  intellect  and  her  wonderful  power  of  intellectual  as- 
similation. She  had  been  in  this  country  only  six  years  when  she 
wrote  the  article  for  the  Biblical  Repository.  Even  in  this 
article,  which  we  may  term  the  foundation  of  her  book,  there 
was  very  little  which  would  make  one  conscious  that  the  pro- 
duction was  from  a  foreign-born  hand.  The  North  American 
Reviezv  spoke  of  this  part  of  the  book  as  a  "precious  gem, 
which  gives  brilliancy  and  animation  to  the  whole."  The 
woman's  heart  and  hand  were  seen  in  it ;  the  touch  was  tender 
and  sympathetic,  the  very  characteristics  which  caused  Goethe 
to  rejoice  that  the  work  with  the  Servian  poetry,  twenty-five 
years  before,  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  a  woman,  who  was 
at  the  same  time  a  scholar  in  every  sense  of  the  world. 

In  considering  Slavic  popular  poetry  as  a  whole  Talvj  said 
that  the  poetry  of  the  Slavic  nation  was  wild,  passionate,  and 
tender ;  love  and  war  were  its  common  themes.  The  love 
expressed  in  the  Slavic  songs  was  the  natural  love  of  the  human 
breast,  from  its  most  tender  and  spiritual  affection  to  irre- 
pressible sensuality.  It  was  not  the  sophisticated  love  of  civili- 
zation, it  was  the  pure  deep  love  of  the  unrestrained  heart. 
The  Slavs  still  followed  the  dictates  of  nature,  and  no  artificial 
point  of  honor  kept  the  hero  from  fleeing  when  he  had  met 
one  stronger  than  himself.  In  its  general  tone  the  Slavic 
popular  poetry  was  oriental.  To  enjoy  it  fully  the  reader  had 
to  let  himself  drift  into  an  atmosphere  of  foreign  views  and 
prejudices.  In  this  atmosphere  all  elements  blended  as  one,  the 
North  and  South,  the  East  and  West.  "The  suppleness  of 
Asia  and  the  energy  of  Europe,  the  passive  fatalism  of  the 

—  79  — 


Turk  and  the  active  religion  of  the  Christian,  the  revengeful 
spirit  of  the  oppressed,  and  the  child-like  resignation  of  him 
who  cheerfully  submits,  all  these  seeming  contradictions  find 
an  expressive  organ  in  the  Slavic  popular  poetry."  ^°* 

The  interest  in  this  work  was  widespread.  In  the  St. 
Petersburg  German  paper  for  1834,  No.  227,  I  found  a  very  in- 
teresting notice  which  was  a  reecho  of  the  admiration  ex- 
pressed by  some  Servian  scholars  upon  the  appearance  of  her 
work  with  Servian  folk  lore.^"^  "A  ship  from  Boston  has  just 
arrived,"  this  notice  read,  "bringing  us  this  article  from 
the  pen  of  a  highly  esteemed  German  authoress.  It 
is  the  same  whom  we  have  to  thank  foor  a  transla- 
tion   of    Servian    folk    songs    published    by    Wuk    Stephan- 

owitsch     Karadschitsch It     was     scarcely    to     be 

hoped  that  Mrs.  Robinson,  as  such,  would  continue  her  interest 
in  the  Slavic  world,  now  so  far  removed ;  but  behold,  here 
comes  an  essay  to  us,  in  which  the  writer  gives  information 
to  her  new  countrymen  and  to  learned  England  in  regard  to 
a  race  of  people  hardly  known  by  name.  With  wonderful 
skill,  using  all  the  sources  of  information  at  hand,  she  has 
presented  the  relation  of  the  various  Slavic  peoples,  their 
languages  and  their  dialects.  Certainly  every  friend  of  the 
Slavs  must  thank  her  for  this,  but  above  all  should  the  Eng- 
lish be  thankful,  for  whom  she  has  illumined  a  new  field,  and 
in  so  doing  rendered  them  a  true  service.  We  feel  all  the  more 
moved  to  acquaint  our  readers  with  the  existence  of  this  work, 
inasmuch,  as  far  as  we  know,  only  very  few  similar  works  have 
come  to  us  in  Russia." 

The  first  publication  of  the  book  attracted  an  unusual 
interest,  and  it  obtained  almost  at  once  the  distinction 
of  being  the  most  thorough  and  complete,  as  well  as  the 
first  analysis  of  Slavonic  literature  extant.  How  Goethe 
woud  have  rejoiced  over  this  work  had  he  lived  to 
see  it !  The  Evening  Post  saw  in  it  a  "work  of  which  we  ought 
to  be  proud,  as  the  production  of  one  of  the  adopted  daughters 
of  our  country,  who,  having  acquired  a  reputation  among  the 

losxalvj,  Slavic  Literature,  p.  320. 
109  See  chapter  II, 

—  80  — 


authors  of  her  native  literature,  now  became  engaged  in  adding 
to  the  riches  of  ours."  The  North  American  Review  also 
recognized  the  volume  as  a  valuable  accession  to  our  literature ; 
and  even  the  conservative  English  magazines  spoke  in  most 
glowing  terms  of  it. 

From  an  earnest  and  thorough  study  of  the  songs  of  one 
branch  of  the  Slavic  nation,  Talvj  had  thus  added  to  her  field 
of  research  the  whole  Slavic  nation;  and  now  she  gradually 
extended  her  consideration  to  all  the  nations  of  Europe.  Her 
Charakteristik  der  Volkslicder,  which  was  published  in  1840, 
occupies  a  unique  place  in  comparative  literature.  "Not  with- 
out hesitation,"  she  said,  "do  I  send  these  leaves  out  into  the 
world.  Above  all  I  would  not  have  them  regarded  as  a  collec- 
tion of  folk  songs.  The  collection  is  altogether  too  incomplete 
for  that.  Nor  would  I  have  them  regarded  as  an  historical 
text  book,  for  the  background  of  many  parts  of  the  picture 
must  of  necessity  be  concealed  in  shadow.  I  would  wish  the 
volume,  however  insignificant,  to  be  regarded  solely  as  a  con- 
tribution to  cultural  history."  ^^'^  By  the  phrase  "concealed 
in  shadow"  she  had  reference  to  such  obscure  sections  of  na- 
tional folk  lore  that  of  the  Norwegians,  concerning  which 
she  could  find  not  a  single  publication  of  popular  songs.  Some 
of  the  older  Saxon  songs  were  omitted  because  they  came  to 
her  notice  too  late. 

Poetry  is  the  natural  language  of  tlie  human  race.  Prim- 
itive peoples  must  needs  use  a  form  of  expression  which  is  at 
once  creative,  figurative,  and  imitative.  The  poetry  of  the 
earliest  childhood  of  a  people  is  like  the  speech  of  a  stammering 
child.  The  people  go  into  ecstacy  over  sensual  pleasures  just 
as  a  child  does ;  and  like  a  child  they  vent  their  grief  and  pain 
in  loud  and  unrestrained  lamentations.  The  more  man  comes 
under  the  dominion  of  external  circumstances  of  government, 
civilization,  and  culture,  the  greater  becomes  the  distance  be- 
tween life  and  poetry.  His  vocabulary  develops  until  it 
gradually  loses  its  imaginative  and  figurative  qualities.  The 
subjective  gives  way  to  the  objective.  But  the  origin  of  all 
speech,  poetic,  figurative,  and  subjunctive,  remains  at  the  basis 

11*'  Talvj,  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  Vorwort. 

—  81  — 


of  all  languages  of  the  world  in  spite  of  all  refinement  of  thought 
and  expression,  in  spite  of  all  boundary  lines  of  logic.  It  is  quite 
probable  that  originally  poetry,  as  the  expression  of  the  emo- 
tions, was  once  identical  with  song.  If  this  be  true,  we  must  con- 
sider "song"  as  a  term  applied  to  a  certain  rhythmic  raising  and 
lowering  of  the  voice,  similar  in  measure  to  a  chant.  As  one 
listens  to  a  very  young  child  sitting  on  the  floor  amusing  him- 
self with  his  blocks  and  other  toys,  entirely  unconscious  of  his 
surroundings,  the  sounds  which  come  to  the  listener  certainly 
bear  a  resemblance  to  artless  melody.  Herder  said  that  for  a 
long  time  singing  and  speaking  were  one  among  the  old  races. 
In  Wilhehn  Meister,  Goethe  said,  "Song  is  the  first  step  in 
education;  all  else  connects  itself  with  it  and  is  harmonized 
by  it."  "^ 

Chamisso,  in  his  investigations  among  primitive  nations 
found  that  none  of  the  peoples  whom  he  visited  were  entirely 
ignorant  of  poetry  and  song.  As  the  various  peoples  dififered  in 
their  cultural  development,  so  their  songs  differed  also,  varying 
from  mere  wild  shrieks,  as  it  seemed,  to  rhythmic  and  melod- 
ious intonations.  These  intonations  seemed  to  represent  the 
satisfaction  of  an  inborn  need.  Wide  difference  in  national 
character  gave  rise  to  nature-poetry  and  folk-poetry,  which, 
despite  their  many  contrasts,  Talvj  attributed  to  the  same 
source.  Very  frequently  folk  poetry  and  national  poetry  are 
conceived  as  one  and  the  same  thing;  which,  however,  in  a 
strict  sense  is  not  true.  Talvj  draws  the  distinction  very  well 
when  she  says:  "In  the  broad  sense  of  the  word  all  the  poetic 
literature  of  a  people  was  national ;  in  a  narrower  sense  only 
that  poetry  was  national  which  dealt  primarily  with  the  pe- 
culiarities and  conditions  of  nations  to  which  the  various  so- 
called  national  poets  belonged.  The  poets,  not  the  people,  pro- 
duced this  type  of  poetry.  Shakespeare,  Goethe,  Victor  Hugo 
were  national  poets.  On  the  other  hand,  folk  poetry  was  not 
always  poetry  which  was  read  and  sung  by  the  common  people, 
nor  even  necessarily  a  part  of  such  poetry ;  for  if  this  were  the 
case,  the  Bible  would  be  folk  poetry." 

Folk  lore,   whether  in  the  form  of  songs  or  of   fables,   is 

m  Goethe,  Wilhehn  Meisters  Wanderjahre,  chap,  i,  Book  II. 

—  82  — 


that  production  which,  originating  among  a  people  in  their 
internal  and  domestic  relations  has  an  influence  in  the  develop- 
ment of  this  people.  Folk  songs  are  the  common  property  of 
all, — for  all  had  a  hand  in  producing  them.  Storm  in  his  Im- 
niensee  has  put  a  beautiful  description  of  folk  song  into  the 
mouth  of  Reinhardt :  "They  are  not  made,  they  grow,  they  fall 
from  the  air,  they  fly  over  the  land  like  gossamers,  here  and 
there,  and  are  sung  in  a  thousand  different  places  at  the  same 
time.  In  these  songs  we  find  our  very  own  acts  and  sufferings ; 
it  is  as  if  all  of  us  had  helped  to  make  them,  all  working  to- 
gether." Talvj's  own  definition  carries  with  it  the  same 
thought:  "Whether  they  proceed  from  the  past  or  present 
they  are  the  blossoms  of  popular  life  bom  and  nurtured  by  the 
care  of  the  people,  cherished  by  their  joys,  watered  by  their 
tears,  and  because  of  this  are  characteristic  through  and 
through  of  the  great  mass  of  a  nation  and  its  condition."  ^^^ 

In  connection  with  this  Talvj's  theory  regarding  the  rela- 
tive age  of  the  lyric  and  the  epic  is  worthy  of  consider- 
ation; for  although  it  is  a  theory  not  generally  accepted, 
some  of  her  views  may  help  adjust  rival  explanations. — The 
oldest  monuments  of  poetry  are,  as  we  know,  epic  in  character. 
But  in  these  very  epics  there  are  enough  traces  and  evidences 
to  lead  one  to  say  that  back  of  the  epic  was  the  lyric.  To  put 
it  more  directly,  the  lyric  embodies  the  present,  the  epic  the 
past.  Each  new  situation  calls  forth  its  expression,  and  the 
resulting  songs  are  consequently  not  guarded  within  the  strong 
box  of  script,  but  within  the  minds  and  hearts  of  the  people 
themselves,  principally  of  the  women  and  youths.  The  epic 
is  in  reality  a  development  of  the  lyric,  or  a  sequence  of  it. 
As  we  look  over  the  ballads  of  various  primitive  peoples  we 
find,  for  example,  of  the  songs  before  a  battle,  some  that  are 
bright  and  strong,  filled  with  encouraging  cheer  for  the  war- 
riors ;  some  that  are  deeply  pathetic,  filled  with  the  heartache 
of  a  sweetheart  as  she  bids  her  lover  farewell,  or  of  a  mother 
as  she  sends  her  son  forth  to  serve  his  country.  Always,  how- 
ever, we  find  even  beneath  the  pathos  an  heroic  recognition  of 
necessity  and  duty.  After  the  battle,  there  are  songs  of  victory, 

ii^Talvj,  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  p.  11. 

—  83  — 


wildly  ecstatic,  or  songs  of  defeat  touchingly  pathetic  in  their 
tone  of  resignation.  And  thus  in  countless  instances  the  epic 
gives  evidence  of  having  developed  from  the  lyric.^^^ 

In  the  three  great  collections  of  folk  lore,  Herder's,  Ar- 
nim  and  Bretano's,  and  Talvj's,  the  last  alone  drew  a  sharp 
distinction  between  folk  songs  and  popular  songs,  and  so  may 
be  said  to  have  succeeded  better  in  depicting  the  cultural  de- 
velopment of  primitive  peoples.  Herder  did  not  restrict  himself 
to  folk  songs  in  his  collection,  probably  because  of  a  general 
indifference  on  the  part  of  the  public;  Arnim  and  Brentano 
followed  his  example  in  their  Des  Knaben  Wunderhorn,  probab- 
ly for  the  same  reason.  So  with  other  collections;  for  one 
reason  or  another  they  became  popular  and  national  in  charac- 
ter. 

In  her  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder  the  author  did  not 
content  herself  with  compiling  great  quantities  of  material  at 
hand.  She  strove  rather  to  study  the  material,  and,  by  com- 
paring it  with  the  historic  conditions  of  the  people,  to  arrive 
at  a  clear  view  of  the  very  essence  of  folk  song ;  if  possible,  she 
wished  even  to  recognize  the  historical  development  of  the 
poetry  of  separate  peoples,  from  its  naive  to  its  conscious  state. 
The  work  was  a  real  contribution  to  cultural  history,  for  the 
author  succeeded  in  showing  how  very  close  was  the  connec- 
tion between  the  customs  of  a  people  and  the  peculiarities  of 
its  songs.  She  demonstrated  that  changes  which  took  place  in 
a  people's  mode  of  thinking  and  living  could  be  found  in  its 
poetry. 

The  first  division  of  the  work  contained  four  chapters  de- 
voted to  a  description  of  the  folk  songs  of  the  Asiatic,  Malayan, 
Polynesian,  African,  and  the  original  Americans,  all  peoples 
who  were  more  or  tess  primitive.  Talvj  gave  to  a  compar- 
atively uninformed  public  a  vast  number  of  facts  with  regard 
to  these  nations ;  facts,  which,  for  the  most  part,  had  hitherto 
been  inaccessible.  Her  ingenuity  combined  these  with  exam- 
ples of  their  poetry  in  a  m.anner  altogether  pleasing,  interest- 
ing and  instructive.  A  quotation  from  Blatter  fur  literarische 
Unterhaltung  expressed  the  appreciation  and  interest  which 

113  Talvj,  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  Introduction. 

^  84  — 


this  division  aroused  in  literary  Europe.  "We  consider  alto- 
gether excellent  this  latter  description  which,  in  all  probabil- 
ity, is  based  on  first  hand  knowledge  of  the  author,  and  which 
shows  how  the  Indian  possesses  no  real  talent  for  poetry  as  we 
should  naturally  expect,  but  rather,  because  of  a  predominant 
power  of  reason  and  a  passionate  ambition,  seems  capable  of 
and  inclined  in  the  highest  degree  toward  eloquence."  ^^* 

The  second  division  of  the  book,  which  dealt  with  Euro- 
pean people,  Talvj  introduced  by  a  chapter  presenting  the 
characteristics  of  Germanic  folk  lore.  Especial  attention  was 
drawn  to  the  family  likenesses  which,  despite  outward  differ- 
ences, existed  among  the  traditional  songs  of  all  European 
peoples.  In  this  way  only  could  a  repeated  use  of  certain  ex- 
pressions, the  repeated  presence  of  the  riddle,  and  the  fre- 
quency of  the  question  and  answer  form  be  accounted  for.  In 
the  thoughts  themselves  marked  similarities  could  be  traced. 
For  instance,  almost  all  nations  believed  in  the  endurance  of 
true  love ;  in  the  power  of  inordinate  grief  to  disturb  the  rest 
of  the  departed  one;  in  divine  destiny  and  justice.^^^  She 
divided  the  Germanic  peoples  into  three  large  groups ;  the 
Scandinavian,  the  German,  and  the  British.  The  British  fell 
under  two  heads,  English  and  Scotch ;  the  German,  under 
German  and  Dutch ;  the  Scanliavian  under  Icelandic, 
Faroish,  Danish,  Norwegian,  and  Swedish.  The  Norwegian 
and  Swedish  divisions  were,  much  to  the  author's  regret,  left 
in  an  uncompleted  state.  Each  division  was  prefaced  by  in- 
troductory remarks,  historical,  philological,  and  political  in 
character,  according  as  history,  philology,  or  politics  played  an 
important  role  in  the  cultural  development  of  the  people  under 
discussion.  Talvj  made  use  of  every  opportunity  to  compare 
the  various  poetical  forms  of  the  different  peoples,  and  she 
combined  with  all  her  general  discussions  illustrative  and 
characteristic  songs.    These  three  elements,  introduction,  dis- 

11*  Blatter  fur  literarische  Unterhaltung,  Jan.  18,  1841. 

11^  Cf.  Anhang  su  Wilhelm  Grimm's  Uehersetzung  der  ddnischen 
Heldenlieder.  In  regard  to  this  idea  of  likenesses  Jakob  Grimm  said, 
"The  divine,  the  spirit  of  poetry,  is  the  same  among  all  people  and  knows 
only  one  source." 

—  85  — 


cussion,  and  poetry,  made  the  book  what  she  wished  it  to  be, 
a  contribution  to  cultural  history. 

Some  criticism  was  expressed  of  her  treatment  of  German 
poetry,  upon  the  ground  that  it  was  lacking  both  in  material 
and  in  theory  of  development.  One  of  her  critics  excused 
her  partially  on  the  ground  of  her  long  absence  from  Germany 
during  early  youth.  There  was  a  noticeable  predomin- 
ance of  love  lyrics.  The  popular  German  drinking  songs 
were  entirely  lacking.  It  cannot  be  doubted  that  these  songs 
are  quite  as  really  folk-productions  as  some  of  the  Weihnachts- 
Lieder,  and  their  absence  from  her  collection  is  a  genuine 
flaw  in  her  work. 

Her  treatment  of  Scotch  poetry  was  perhaps  the  best  part 
of  the  book;  for  in  addition  to  a  perfect  familiarity  with  her 
material,  the  author  seemed  to  have  a  sincere  love  for  this 
division  of  her  subject.  She  herself  said  that  there  was  no 
richer  field  in  all  Europe  for  the  collector  of  folk  songs  than 
Scotland.  Her  statement  of  likenesses  and  differences  be- 
tween the  English  and  the  Scotch  poetry  is  well  worth  any 
scholar's  consideration.  It  is  keen,  searching,  and  well  ex- 
pressed. ^^® 

K.  A.  Varnhagen  von  Ense  ^^'  saw  in  this  book  a  revival 
of  Herder's  thoughts,  extended  and  elevated,  however,  to  fit 
the  measure  of  an  advanced  knowledge.  In  another  sense  it 
seemed  to  him  a  new  form  of  the  Wunderhorn,  raised  out  of 
German  limitations  into  the  field  of  all  folk  song.  Open- 
mindedness,  genuine  sympathy,  sane  reason,  comprehensive 
knowledge,  and  sound  judgment  had,  he  felt,  given  the  author 
an  unusual  equipment  for  handling  such  a  subject.  Chance, 
moreover,  assisted  her  by  first  affording  her  a  residence  in 
Kussia  during  the  most  susceptible  years  of  her  life,  and  later 
by  giving  her  a  residence  in  America  during  years  of  more 
mature  thought  and  sympathy,  thus  leading  her  into  a  more 
intimate  knowledge  of  English  and  Scotch  characteristics 
through  her  ever  increasing  master}^  of  the  English  langu- 
age. 

11^  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder,  p.  603. 

11''^  Jahrhucher  fur  wissenschaftliche  Kritik,  No.  86,  1840. 

—  86  — 


Some  critics  felt  that  she  had  taken  the  idea  of  "Volks- 
lieder"  in  too  narrow  a  sense.  She  herself,  however,  had  a 
compiler's  natural  sense  of  the  necessity  for  selecting  and 
choosing  most  carefully.  Goethe  warned  the  authors  of  the 
Wimdcrhorn  against  the  sing-song  of  the  Minnesingers,  and 
the  wretched  commonness  and  flatness  of  the  Meistersingers ; 
and  some  of  the  omissions  in  Talvj's  book  may  be  due  to-  the 
influence  of  such  a  warning,  although  it  was  never  extended  to 
her. 

From  the  criticisms  and  comments  which  I  have  considered 
worthy  of  mention  in  this  chapter,  we  may  feel  certain  that 
Talvj's  position  in  the  literary  world  was  now  firmly  estab- 
lished. 

CAPTER  V. 

History  of  thi;  Colonization  of  Ne;w  England 

FROM  1607-1698. 

History  of  the  Colonization  of  New  England  from  1607-1698. 

American  historiography  is  of  comparatively  recent  origin. 
In  her  introduction  to  her  Colonisation  von  Neii  Bngland 
Talvj  states :  "Throughout  the  whole  eighteenth  century  here 
and  everywhere  else  the  spirit  of  historical  research  slumbered. 
Valuable  documents  lay  dust  covered  in  undisturbed  rest  in 
public  archives  or  private  libraries.  Uninterpreted  manu- 
scripts served  as  wrapping  paper."  The  catalog  of  writers  who 
manifested  any  noteworthy  interest  in  investigation  and  com- 
pilation is  a  brief  one.  One  of  the  chief  of  them,  Thomas 
Prince,  gathered  material  with  wonderful  diligence  and  pa- 
tience, and  succeeded  in  presenting  to  the  public  a  Chronolog- 
ical History  of  Netv  England  up  to  1633.  To  Call'ender  and 
Backus,  minor  names,  we  are  also  grateful  for  many  original 
documents  which  in  one  way  or  another  throw  light  upon  the 
darkest  periods  of  American  history.  Hutchinson's  History 
of  Massachusetts,  which  appeared  toward  the  close  of  the  Rev- 
olution, should  have  been  a  mine  of  valuable  historical  mate- 
rials, for  as  royal  governor  of  Massachusetts  the  author  had 

—  87  — 


access  to  the  very  authentic  manuscript  material ;  but  unfort- 
unately much  that  he  had  collected  was  lost  or  destroyed  during 
the  Stamp  Act  riots." 

Amid  this  poverty  of  formali  collections  of  facts  or  man- 
uscripts, Talvj  found  four  main  sources  of  historical  data  upon 
New  England;  Cotton  Mather's  Ecclesiastical  History,  Wil- 
liam Bradford's  diary,  John  Winthrop's  History  of  New  Eng- 
land, and  Edward  Johnson's  IV onder-working  Providence  of 
Zion's  Savior.  The  first  of  these,  known  also  as  the  Magnolia 
Christi  Americana,  Talvj  considered  authentic,  but  very  nar- 
row in  viewpoint.  This  history  extends  over  the  period  be- 
tween 1620  and  1698.  It  is  regarded  as  the  most  important 
book  produced  in  America  during  the  seventeenth  century. 
It  has  been  suggested  that  as  a  history  it  was  unsatisfactory 
because  the  author  was  too  near  events  to  be  strictly  impar- 
tial. His  personal  feelings  perhaps  unconsciously  colored  his 
judgments.  In  regard  to  facts  he  is  charged  with  being  care- 
less and  inaccurate.  However,  the  work  is  indispensible  to  an 
understanding  of  New  England  history.  The  diary  of  Wil- 
liam Bradford,  governor  of  New  England,  was  still  in  man- 
uscript in  1847,  and  was  not  known  except  in  fragments. 
Some  fifty  years  later  the  manuscripts  were  collected  and  pub- 
lished. Much  of  the  original  material  became  a  part  of  the 
church  records  of  Plymouth  through  Nathaniel  Morton,  a 
nephew  of  Bradford.  Morton  also  used  many  of  Bradford's 
accounts  in  his  Nezv  Englands  Memorial,  but  many  of  the 
manuscripts  were  lost  during  the  Revolution  and  have  never 
been  found.  Until  1790  John  Winthrop's  History  of  England 
remained  in  manuscript  form.  Cotton  Mather  and  Hubbard 
used  it,  the  latter  quoting  much  of  it  word  for  word  without 
mentioning  the  source.  In  1790  the  part  dealing  with  the 
history  of  Massachusetts  was  published  under  the  title  of 
A  Journal  of  the  Transactions  and  Occurrences  in  the  Settle- 
ment of  Massachusetts.  Not  until  1825  was  Winthrop's 
entire  collection  given  to  the  public.  He  was,  in  Talvj 's 
estim.ation,  the  leader  in  the  history  of  the  period  from 
1630  to  1649,  The  chief  value  of  Edward  Johnson's  history, 
which  appeared  in  1654,  lay  in  the  fact  that  the  author  was 

—  88  — 


a  contemporary  of  the  events  which  he  described.  However, 
its  style  was  weak  and  difficult  to  read  because  of  a  rather 
absurd  and  artificial  piety  running  through  the  whole.  In 
1658  it  was  plagiarized  by  Ferdinand  Gorges  and  published 
as  the  work  of  Gorges'  grandfather  under  the  title,  America 
painted  to  Life,  A  True  History. 

There  were,  of  course,  many  lesser  sources  deserving  of 
a  brief  mention.  Those  for  Massachusetts  comprise  several 
small  manuscripts  by  Edward  Winslow ;  the  personal  letter 
of  the  vice-governor  Thomas  Dudley  to  the  Countess  of 
Lincoln,  patroness  of  the  colonies;  manuscripts  by  Higgin- 
son.  Wood,  Welde,  Lechford  and  Josselyn  which  recorded 
personal  experiences ;  and  Sir  Ferdinand  Gorges'  Brief  Narra- 
tion of  the  Original  Undertaking  and  the  Advancement  of  the 
Plantations.  The  latter  was  valuable  as  showing  an  English- 
man's theories  and  plans  for  American  settlements.  For  the 
Indian  Wars  Mason,  Underbill,  Gardiner,  and  Vincent  con- 
tributed much.  The  history  of  Providence  and  Rhode  Island 
is  based  almost  entirely  on  rather  imperfect  accounts  of  the 
first  founders,  Clark,  Gorton,  and  Roger  Williams,  largely 
in  the  form  of  letters.  Finally,  for  the  settlement  of  Con- 
necticut, with  the  exception  of  a  very  few  letters,  there  was 
really  no  authentic  contemporaneous  account.  The  govern- 
mental chronicles  and  various  church  archives  of  later  times 
furnished  practically  all  of  the  historical  information  of  this 
colony.  A  General  History  of  Connecticut,  published  in  Lon- 
don in  1781  was  so  unreliable  that  it  was  of  little  value  as 
history.  Talvj  said  of  this  book,  "Nothing  can  be  more 
characteristic  of  the  sentiment  against  America  then  ruling  in 
England,  than  this  bungling  piece  of  work  which  had  its  second 
edition  the  following  year." 

Talvj  had  a  single  criticism  for  all  these  sources :  they 
lacked  an  independent  viewpoint  and  a  sense  of  detached  his- 
torical perspective.  English  historians,  on  the  other  hand, 
she  condemned  for  their  lack  of  intimacy  with  American 
conditions  and  events,  and  their  inability  to  grasp  the  spirit 
of  what  they  recorded.  Chalmers  alone  was  an  authority  on 
New  England.     Neal's  history  was  little  more  than  a  reorgan- 

—  89  — 


ization  of  Cotton  Mather's,  with  greater  purity  of  style.  The 
prejudice  against  Americans  was  such  as  to  make  perverted 
and  false  statements  more  acceptable  than  facts,  and  thus  many 
errors  circulated  by  these  careless  early  historians  are,  today, 
regarded  as  authentic  facts.  But  these  were  not,  in  her  mind, 
the  most  deplorable  phases  of  early  histories,  whether  English 
or  American.  Our  so-called  standard  histories  clothed  the 
events  of  the  formative  days  of  our  country  in  a  mantel  of 
myth  and  legend.  The  very  criticisms  of  Talvj's  history 
made  at  the  outset  by  the  North  American  Review  gave  evi- 
dence of  the  tendency  to  require  of  a  history  a  novelistic  style, 
in  order  that  it  might  be  popular  v^ith  the  masses.  Unfor- 
tunately the  truth  did  not  always  make  a  popular  appeal  to 
the  masses,  and  as  a  consequence  truth  had  been  sacrificed  for 
the  sake  of  popularity  in  a  large  number  of  our  historical  writ- 
ings. Even  Bancroft,  who  w^as  generally  considered  the  stand- 
ard American  historian,  wrote,  it  is  claimed,  "most  cautiously, 
with  the  greatest  dread  of  the  slightest  admission,  and  with 
intense  straining  to  make  out  a  perfect  case."  "^  Why,  it 
might  well  be  asked  did  not  Talvj  translate  Bancroft  for  her 
German  readers,  instead  of  undertaking  to  write  a  hisory  her- 
self ?  As  I  see  it,  the  answer  lies  in  this  fact :  no  American 
history  told  the  truth  as  gleaned  entirely  from  original  sources 
and  as  evolved  out  of  a  clear  unbiased  view  of  these  sources. 
Talvj  was  almost  a  century  ahead  of  her  time  in  her  scien- 
tific investigation  and  use  of  original  sources  in  these  pictures 
of  early  colonial  history.  Only  within  recent  years  have  the 
many  sad  deficiencies  in  American  historical  writings  begun 
to  be  generally  felt.  Of  late,  through  the  almost  universal 
dissemination  and  improvement  of  public  libraries,  the  mul- 
tiplied opportunities  of  gaining  access  to  old  pamphlets  and 
original  evidences  of  all  sorts,  American  scholarship  has  every- 
where been  aroused  to  a  desire  for  a  clearer  knowledge  and 
a  more  tangible  grasp  of  events  upon  this  continent.  "'^ 

118  Fischer,  Myth  Making  Process  in  Histories  of  the  U.  S.,  p.  68. 

11"  Cf.  Proceedings  of  American  Philosophical  Society,  vol.  li,  p.  54. 
Truth  is  winning  over  fiction,  as  may  be  seen  from  some  of  the  recent 
historical  writings.    The  names  of  some  of  Sydney  G.  Fischer's  works 

-^  90  — 


A  brief  comparison  of  Talvj's  history  with  Bancroft's  will 
show  how  in  some  respects  hers  fulfilled  even  a  greater  mis- 
sion than  his.  First  of  all,  Bancroft,  as  an  American  writing 
for  an  American  public,  wrote  from  an  American  viewpoint, 
while  Talvj,  a  German- American  writing  for  a  German  pub- 
lic, chose  a  German  viewpoint.  We  may  characterize  the  dif- 
ference between  these  two  positions  as  a  difference  between 
a  fervid  patriotism  and  a  calm,  scientific  interest,  which  made 
an  unbiased  search  among  original  sources  for  materials  which 
should  present  all  sides  of  the  historical  situations,  the  side 
of  the  unsuccessful,  as  well  as  of  the  successful.  In  the  sec- 
ond place,  Bancroft's  work  was  not  as  concentrated  as  Talvj's, 
inasmuch  as  it  encompassed  a  much  greater  space  and  period 
of  time.  In  comparison  with  his  history  she  called  hers  "a 
single  room  of  a  whole  big  house."  ^^^  Naturally,  since  the 
German  viewpoint  would,  in  many  instances,  be  different  from 
that  of  an  enthusiastic  American,  a  German  would  dwell  on 
the  smaller  details  more  than  an  American.  To  all  appearances 
America  was  advancing  by  leaps  and  bounds,  fairly  striding 
through  the  fields  of  industrial  and  political  developm.ent.  It 
was  only  logical  that  an  American  historian  should  pay 
little  or  no  attention  to  man}^  of  the  small  and,  to  him,  in- 
significant details  in  the  early  years  of  colonization.  It 
was  only  logical  that  a  foreigner  with  a  keenly  scientific  and 
wide-awake  mind  should,  after  the  first  surprise  at  such  rapid 
advancement,  seek  its  causes  in  the  details  of  early  establish- 

are  significant.  (Mr.  Fischer  is  a  writer  and  lawyer  of  considerable 
prominence  in  Philadelphia  1856 — )  We  find  above  his  name  such 
titles  as  these :  True  Benjamin  Franklin;  The  True  William  Penn; 
The  True  History  of  the  American  Revolution;  The  True  Daniel 
Webster,  etc.  Mr.  Fischer  says  in  regard  to  this  realization  of  the 
importance  of  truth  in  historical  writings,  "Within  the  last  two  years, 
in  writing  a  life  of  Daniel  Webster,  I  had  occasion  to  examine  the 
original  evidence  of  our  history  from  the  war  of  1812  to  the  Compro- 
mise of  1850,  and  I  found  that  it  had  substantially  been  used  in  our 
histories  of  that  period.  There  was  no  ignoring  of  it  or  concealment  of 
it  such  as  I  had  found  when  I  investigated  the  original  evidence  of  the 
Revolution." 

120  Colonisation  von  Neu  England,  p.  xiii. 

—  91  — 


ment  and  development.  An  American's  enthusiasm  does  not 
in  any  way  deprecate  his  ability;  it  is  merely  a  reflex  of  the 
life  and  development  about  him.  This  reflex  could  not  exist 
in  a  foreigner.  The  fact  that  Talvj  admired  Bancroft  and  his 
work  led  her  to  consider  m.any  of  his  views  very  carefully, 
and  in  many  instances  the  two  agreed.  Yet,  vv^th  her  decided 
leaning  toward  the  great  historian,  she  remained  independent 
in  her  judgments ;  and  in  some  instances,  again,  the  two  writers 
seemed  to  be  almost  diametrically  opposed.  In  speaking  of 
Bancroft's  History  of  the  United  States,  Francis  J.  Grund  said, 
"Bancroft's  history  seems  on  the  whole  to  have  fallen  short  of 
its  purpose — it  lacks  a  philosophical  and  calm  view  which 
should  put  the  life  of  the  states  into  accord  with  the  general 
tone  of  humanity."  ^-^ 

Another  great  point  of  difference  between  Talvj 's  history 
and  Bancroft's  was  in  the  distribution  of  emphasis.  Talvj 
laid  great  emphasis  on  settlements,  dwelling  at  length  on 
customs  and  religious  views,  and  the  development  of  law  and 
order  out  of  the  inner  life  and  character  of  the  colonists.  Ban- 
croft, on  the  other  hand,  perhaps  because  of  the  greater  scope 
of  his  work,  set  forth  monumental  figures  in  the  early  history 
of  New  England,  and  focused  the  minor  developments  in  these. 
The  former's  was  a  history  of  colonial  spirit  rather  than  of 
colonial  activity.  It  contained  the  elements  of  a  "Kulturge- 
schichte",  a  form  of  history  as  yet  undeveloped. 

But  the  question  naturally  arises,  why  did  she  write  this 
history  for  German  readers?  In  spite  of  an  almost  perfect 
mastery  of  English  style,  she  always  felt  more  at  home  with 
the  German  language,  and  as  a  consequence  the  greater  part 
of  the  work  was  written  in  German.  This  fact,  however, 
would  not  stamp  her  work  as  written  for  German  readers.  It 
is  undoubtedly  true  that,  although  she  wrote  from  a  point  of 
view  whose  chief  consideration  was  the  interest  in  America 
and  the  knowledge  of  American  afl^airs  v/hich  then  existed  in 
Germany,  she  sincerely  hoped  that  her  work  would  find  read- 
ers on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic,  and  was  by  no  means  un- 
mindful of  a  possible  American  audience.     There  were  many 

121  Francis  J.  Grund,  Die  Amerikaner,  p.  106. 

—  92  — 


Americans  who  read  the  German  fiuentl3^   and  whose  ever- 
increasing   interest    in    German    ideals    and   methods    had   al- 
ready shown  that  they  considered  the  tongue  no  barrier  to  an 
understanding  of  a  new  work  of  learning.    But  in  the  main,  as 
she  herself  consciously  asserted,  her  ambition  was  to  interest 
the  Teutonic  race  in  the  land  which  was  destined  to  become 
yearly    the   home   of    more    and   more   of    its   children.      She 
felt   that   intim.ate   relations   must   in   time  grow   up  between 
the  Germans  of  the  Fatherland  and  those  of  the  New  World ; 
and  inasmuch  as  conditions  in  the  two  countries  were  so  dif- 
ferent,   she  believed   a   knowledge   of   America  necessary   in 
order  that  Germany  might  the  better  and  more  readily  adjust 
herself  to  the  demands  of  this  new  relationship.    She  realized 
the    significance    of    the    role    America    was    playing    in    the 
world's  history,  and  she  wanted  the  Germans  to  realize  this 
significance   in   terms   of   early   development.      Before   Talvj, 
Ebeling  and  Kufahl  were  the  only  Germans  who  had  made  a 
study  of  the  colonial  United  States.     At  the  time  they  wrote 
many  of  the  main  sources  were  still  hidden,  and  furthermore 
they  lacked  personal  knowledge  of  the  locality,  the  people,  and 
the  institutions  about  which  they  wrote.     Both,  like  Bancroft, 
included  a  field  of  far  greater  scope  in  time  and  place.  Already, 
however,  so  considerable  an  interest  was  being  manifested  in 
Germany  about  America's  history,  that  a  history  from  the  pen 
of  a  German-American  w^as  tacitly  dem.anded.     Nothing  bears 
better  witness  to  Talvj 's  hope  of  bringing  about  an  under- 
standing between  the  two  nations  than  her  copious  notes  which 
made  many  expressions  and  view-points  clear  to  the  foreign 
reader,  and  prevented  in  advance  the  confusion  which  often 
arose  out  of  misundertanding. 

The  task  of  the  historian  was  not  small,  as  Talvj  realized. 
His  task  it  was  to  give  the  reader  a  clear  view  not  merely  of 
salient  events,  but  of  details  which,  seeming  in  themselves 
cumbersomely  trivial,  assumed  the  greatest  significance  when 
the  proper  relation  to  their  far-reaching  consequences  was 
shown.  In  doing  this,  Talvj  showed  exceptional  skill.  Her 
viewpoint  as  we  have  before  intimated,  was  larger  than  that 
of  the  ordinary  historian  of  political  events,   for  her  work 

—  93  — 


involved  a  consideration  of  social  development  in  which  private, 
public,  religious,  moral,  individual,  and  general  relations 
entered.  Her  treatment  of  the  subject  matter  was  of  such 
specific  and  concrete  nature  that  the  situations  portrayed  bore 
the  stamp  of  truth  and  reality  to  the  reader. 

She  portrayed  the  Puritans  justly  and  impartially.  ^^-  A 
pride  in  the  Puritan  fathers  had  grown  up,  especially  in  New 
England,  which  stifled  all  recognition  of  other  forces  back  of 
American  progress.  Again,  America  was  becoming  a  great 
nation ;  she  was  trying  hard  to  develop  a  national  culture,  and 
nothing  was  more  natural  than  that,  in  this  conscious  effort, 
she  should  be  blinded  to  all  but  present  achievement.  To  lose 
sight  of  humble  beginnings  and  to  credit  failure  and  success 
impartially  is  a  natural  consequence  of  ill-restrained  enthusi- 
asm in  any  new  project  whose  development  and  progress  are 
rapid.  A  careful  reading  of  Talvj's  history  will  show  very 
plainly  why  an  American  national  culture  did  not  develop  dur- 
ing the  early  days  of  settlement.  Many  highly  cultured  men 
and  women  came  to  America  but  they  alone  could  not  exert 
decided  humanitarian  influence;  likewise  pioneer  life  did  not  in 
itself  present  the  conditions  in  which  to  develop  a  native  cult- 
ure. For  a  people  to  exchange  the  surroundings  of  a  highly 
developed  civilization  for  the  less  advanced  or  primitive  cul- 
tural environm.ent  of  a  new  country,  always  involves  an  abase- 
ment of  ideals.  "Despondency,  homesickness,  and  a  general 
lowering  of  all  the  higher  aspirations  and  ideals  seems  the 
inevitable  result  until  the  psychic  transformation  has  taken 
place,   from  which  the  energetic  personality  emerges   with  a 

12^  Prof.  C.  E.  Stowe  of  Cincinnati  said,  "  We  have  read  no  work 
which  on  the  whole  appears  to  us  to  give  so  accurate  a  picture  of  the 
Puritan  character  as  that  of  Talvj.  It  is  just,  discriminating,  disposed 
to  commend  and  not  fearing  to  censure.  The  author  is  in  a  good  posi- 
tion to  develop  the  subject  according  to  its  real  merit She  stands 

in  the  attitude  of  a  spectator,  yet  with  enough  of  interest  in  the  scene 
and  of  sympathy  with  it  to  give  a  lively  and  glowing  picture  of  it."  (It 
refers  to  the  task  of  giving  this  picture).  For  complete  criticism  by 
Stowe  see  Bihliotheca  Sacra,  vol.  7,  p.  91 — 108,  1850. 

—  94  — 


resolution  to  create  a  new  world  of  his  own  out  of  new  sur- 
roundings." ^-^ 

Hard,  unyielding  primitive  conditions  of  life  and  sus- 
tenance left  the  early  settlers  neither  time  nor  inclination  for 
the  development  of  music,  art,  literature,  or  even  religion. 
Later,  when  the  time  and  inclination  came,  as  life  became  less 
strenuous,  America  was  forced  to  seek  the  seeds  of  culture 
without  herself.  What  culture  the  pioneers  brought  with  them 
had  been  destroyed  by  the  harshness  of  nature  and  the  seeds 
had  not  been  planted  in  their  descendants  forcefully  enough 
to  warrant  their  development  without  external  aid.  Talvj's 
treatment  of  the  Puritans  makes  us  feel  the  force  of  this  truth 
in  such  a  way  that,  while  we  continue  to  admire  the  virtues 
and  the  courage  of  the  New  England  fathers  just  as  much  as 
before,  we  begin  at  the  same  time  to  investigate  other  sources 
of  national  culture.  The  Puritans  did  not  even  have  tinie  to 
develop  a  religion.  They  fought  to  maintain  certain  forms  of 
worship,  but  religion  as  such  was  swallowed  up  in  the  struggle. 

In  a  number  of  personal  letters  Talvj  presented  a  glimpse 
into  the  household  of  an  English  Puritan  family,  which 
afforded  the  best  and  most  vivid  "Sittenbild"  of  the  times. 
One  could  not  fail  to  realize  that  these  early  settlers  were  as 
cruel  and  stubborn  as  nature  herself.  Back  of  the  establish- 
ment of  many  of  the  colonies  lay  the  attempt  to  force  certain 
individuals  to  a  strict  adherence  to  many  customs,  barbarian 
almost  in  their  simplicity  and  crudity.  Infringement  of  per- 
sonal liberty  was  found  on  every  hand.  With  a  strict  regard 
for  truth  Talvj  did  not  see  the  mildness  in  the  laws  of  the 
Puritans  which  almost  all  other  writers  of  history  extolled. 
True,  they  made  no  attempt  to  base  their  institutions  on  any 
of  the  bloody  decrees  of  the  darkest  period  of  the  middle 
ages ;  but  the  fact  was  lost  sight  of  that  many  of  these  bloody 
decrees,  found  in  the  laws  of  European  nations,  would  be 
empty  and  meaningless  on  the  statute  books  of  the  Puritan 
settlers.  As  Talvj  said,  in  the  wilderness  of  America  there 
was  not  even  the  possibility  of   many  of  the  crimes   found 

123  Goebel,  Annual  Report  of  American  Historical  Association  for 
1909,  p.  188. 

—  95  — 


among  the  kingdoms  of  Europe.  Want  of  provision  for  the 
punishment  of  impossible  crimes  is  no  evidence  of  mild- 
ness. The  infringement  of  personal  liberty,  certainly,  was 
not  a  mark  of  mildness  to  be  extolled.  The  Puritans  were 
not  a  free  people.  The  stocks,  branding,  ducking,  whipping, 
and  other  equally  harsh  forms  of  punishment  stared  them  in 
the  face  for  the  slightest  offence.  It  was  an  offence  to  wear 
certain  forms  of  head  dress  and  hair  dress;  certain  kinds  of 
clothes  were  forbidden;  smoking  and  chewing  were  forbid- 
den; the  celebration  of  Christmas  or  Easter  was  a  serious 
offence.  There  was  even  an  ordinance  against  the  use  of  the 
word  saint  as  a  part  of  the  name  of  a  town.  If  such  acts 
were  considered  an  offence,  one  can  easily  see  what  must 
have  been  the  attitude  toward  offences  which  we  would  con- 
sider real.  But  this  harshness,  as  Talvj  pointed  out,  was 
only  a  reflex  of  the  times  in  which  tolerance  was  considered 
indifference. 

To  explain  this  intolerance  and  to  temper  the  judgment 
toward  the  Puritans,  which  might  otherwise  seem  too  harsh, 
she  worked  out  very  carefully  a  background  of  religious  in- 
tolerance in  England  which  drove  men  and  women  into  the 
wilderness  of  America  in  order  to  worship  as  their  conscience 
dictated.  Her  account  comprehended  the  whole  development 
of  the  protestant  spirit  which  led  to  the  emigration,  showing 
what  influence  the  ideas  and  ideals  of  other  countries  had 
in  hastening  it.  She  demonstrated  the  connection  of  this  bit 
of  local  history  with  world  history  by  giving  it  a  cultural 
background,  not  a  statistical  one.  Step  by  step  she  traced  the 
growth  of  discontent,  the  growth  of  suppression  of  individ- 
ual freedom  of  thought  and  action,  the  gradual  growth  of 
royal  dominance  over  the  very  souls  of  the  subjects.  With 
influences  of  similar  nature  pouring  in  from  all  sides  she 
showed  how  this  discontent  finally  became  the  bomb  of  revo- 
lution and  evolution.  Having  completed  this  background, 
she  showed  how  the  process  of  development  went  on  logically 
to  the  history  of  the  first  settlers  in  New  England.  The  very 
nature  of  their  separation  anticipated  intolerance  after  coming 
to  this    country.        The    material    which    Talvj     used    was 

—  96  — 


not  new,  nor  was  her  handling  of  it  entirely  original,  but  she 
collected  into  one  book  a  network  of  facts  which,  though  re- 
lated, had  not  seemed  so,  because  they  had  to  be  sought  in  a 
number  of  widely  scattered  sources. 

Talvj's  treatment  of  the  Puritans  showed  plainly  dem- 
ocracy was  not  an  original  condition,  as  so  many  enthusiastic 
American  writers  claimed.  The  primary  object  of  the  first 
settlers  in  coming  to  America  was  to  replant  the  Church  of 
England  in  Am.erica,  instituting  in  the  process  a  few  changes 
from  the  prescribed  ritual.  Their  whole  energy  seemed  to  be 
directed  toward  establishing  new  congregations,  and  each  new 
one  in  turn  was  greeted  with  great  rejoicing.  There  was  no 
democratic  spirit  to  be  found  in  these  various  congregations, 
what  happened  in  one  happened  in  all.  Excommunication  in 
New  England  during  the  seventeenth  century  was  not  less 
serious  than  the  papal  excommunication.  Only  those  who 
were  church  members  and  who  subscribed  to  all  the  ordin- 
ances of  the  church  had  a  voice  in  the  government ;  the  colon- 
ists were  swayed  by  a  limited  monarchy,  with  the  church 
as  the  monarch.  Out  of  the  very  necessities  of  primitive 
life  the  democracy  developed  in  America  from  an  original 
theocracy.  From  a  representative  church  assembly  the  step 
to  a  representative  state  assembly  was  not  great.  At  first 

an  aristocracy  threatened  but  the  trials  and  hardships  of 
pioneer  life  gave  birth  to  democratic  tendencies  which  could 
not  be  quelled.  "Thus  early,''  Talvj  said,  "began  the  demo- 
cratic tendencies  of  the  people,  the  natural  product  of  a 
wilderness  and  a  condition  in  which  physical  strength 
was  at  a  premium."^-*  The  church  did  not  exist  because  of 
the  state,  but  the  state  because  of  the  church,  and  if  the  state 
attained  to  a  complete  demorcracy  it  was  only  due  to  the  fact 
that  the  constitution  of  the  Purian  church,  in  as  far  as  dem- 
ocracy harmonized  with  theocracy,  was  democratic.  This  view 
was  quite  different  from  that  ordinarily  expressed — that  the 
origin  of  our  democracy  was  in  the  Puritan  church. 

Another  and  valuable  feature  of  Talvj's  book  was  her 
estimate  of  the  Indian.    On  the  whole,  as  we  have  remarked 

^-*  Talvj,  Colonisation  von  Neu  England,  p.  225. 

—  97  — 


before,  it  was  generous  and  charitable.     While  she  did  not 
try  to  excuse  the  Indian  for  his  blood  curdling  acts  of  cruelty, 
she  sought  for  and,  in  many  cases,  found  definite  causes  for 
such  cruelty.     Beneath  the  cruelty  which  caused  many  trav- 
elers and  writers  to  class  him  as  a  beast,  she  found  the  man, 
with  a  man's   feelings  and  a  man's  honor.     Over  and  over 
again  she  showed  that  the  first  relations  between  the  whites 
and   the   redmen    were    friendly,    that   the   redmen   venerated 
the  whites  and   believed   that  through   them  great  happiness 
would    come;    and    that    gradually,    as    their    simple    dream 
failed  to  come  true,  suspicion  was  aroused.     They  began  to 
feel  that  the  white  man  was  not  dealing  honestly  with  them, 
bvj.t  was  slowly  and  surely  dispossessing  them  of  what  was 
theirs  by  the  natural  right  of  original  occupation.     When  this 
dispossession  reached  the  form  of  slavery,  a  crime  which  the 
Indians  hated  above  all  others,  their  passions  were  thorough- 
ly roused,  and  then  many  of  their  acts  were  bestial  in  the 
highest  degree.     She  did  not  minimize  Indian  treachery,  but 
described  it  quite  as  vividly  as  the  treachery  of  the  whites  to- 
ward the  Indians.     We  sometimes  feel  the  Indian  cared  less 
for  a  human  life  than  he  did  for  that  of  one  of  the  wild 
animals  of  the  forest,  but  the  white  man  earned  the  title  to 
the  same  indifference  by  the  manner  in  which  he  dealt  with 
the  savages.     In  most  cases,  as  Talvj  pointed  out,  the  savage 
was  pursuing  the  one  and  only  law   of   life  known  to  him, 
self-preservation.     That  the   same  could   hardly  be  said   for 
the  white  man,  she  illustrated  by  an  incident  first  related  by 
Hutchinson.     During  the  war  with  the  Indians  in  1637,  after 
suprising  them   in   their   fortifications,   Mason   set   fire  to  a 
wigwam.     The  blaze,  spreading  rapidly  among  the  dry  under- 
brush, burned  the  inmates  out  like  so  many  rats.     Escape  was 
absolutely  impossible.     The  few  who  did  escape  the  flames 
fell  into  the  hands  of  the  English  as  prisoners.     Later,  in  the 
division  of  prisoners  a  dispute  arose  over  the  ownership  of 
four  women.     In  order  to  settle  the  dispute  the  four  women 
were     executed.      As     Hutchinson     said,      "The    cleverness 
as  well  as  the  morality  of  this  act  can  well  be  questioned." 
Talvj 's    chapter    on    the    conversion    of    the    Indians    is 

—  98  — 


worthy  of  especial  attention,  because  the  failure  of  the  Indians 
to  embrace  the  Christian  religion  has  given  rise  to  many  of 
the  harshest  condemnations  of  their  character.  The  chief 
cause  of  this  failure,  as  she  saw  it,  was  the  fact  that  too  many 
of  the  missionaries  did  not  know  the  Indian  language.  One 
need  only  glance  over  the  accounts  of  the  Indians  as  given 
us  by  travelers,  to  realize  at  once  that  the  successful  mission- 
aries were  those  who  knew  their  language  and  who  thus 
could  enter  into  their  real  thoughts  and  feelings.  Many  of 
the  German  missionaries,  as  well  as  John  Eliot,  Roger  Wil- 
liams, and  Pierson  owed  their  success  to  having  learned  the 
language  before  attempting  to  convert  the  Indians.  The 
success  of  one  Daniel  Gookin's  sons  in  training  helpers  for 
missionary  work  among  the  Indians  them.selves,  struck  a  de- 
cided blow  at  the  theory  advanced  by  so  many  that  these  na- 
tive Americans  were  incapable  of  culture.  As  early  as  1664  the 
Indians  were  taught  to  read  and  write  English  and  some 
were  even  sent  to  Harvard  to  be  trained  in  theology.  As 
John  Eliot  said ;  "The  Indians  must  become  men,  that  is, 
they  must  be  civilized  before  they  can  become  Christians. "^^^ 
But  the  civilizing  of  the  Indians  seemed  almost  a  hopeless 
task.  Talvj  realized  it  was  hard  to  point  out  a  cause  for  this. 
There  was  no  justice  in  saying  that  they  were  incapable  of  civ- 
ilization and  culture,  at  least  as  far  as  innate  traits  of  character 
were  concerned.  It  is  true  that  Roger  Williams,  after  having 
loved  the  Indians,  grew  to  hate  them,  and  applied  to  them  the 
terms  envious,  revengeful,  treacherous,  and  deceitful.  But 
Talvj  added  this  in  her  note,  "Truly  his  judgment  in  this 
respect  changed  only  after  the  influence  of  the  whites,  espe- 
cially their  liquor,  had  ruined  the  Indians."  ^^®  It  would  seem 
that  the  advent  of  the  white  man  was  as  a  breath  of  poison  to 
the  Indians.  Nothing  in  the  culture  and  civilized  life  of  the 
whites  attracted  the  savages  but  the  cultivation  of  the  fields. 
Double  gain  alone  seemed  to  move  them.  In  order  to  ex- 
plain this  attitude  as  well  as  to  offer  an  apology  for  her 
lengthy  discussion  of  the  Indians  Talvj   said :     "If  we  have 

125  Colonisation  von  Neu  England,  p.  424. 
1216  Ibidem,  p.  416. 

—  99  — 


I'-vJ  '"3— 


been  too  minute  for  many  readers  in  recounting  a  condition 
of  the  Indians  whose  meager  traces  seem  scarcely  to  warrant 
it  a  place  in  history,  we  would  offer  the  excuse  that  we  believed 
we  could  answer  the  seemingly  unanswerable  assertion,  that 
the  Indians  were  incapable  of  civilization.  We  believed  this 
could  be  done  by  a  simple  presentation  of  certain  remark- 
able accomplishments  of  a  few  individuals  during  the  short 
period  of  twenty-five  years.  The  assertion  in  question  arose 
during  the  eighteenth  century  and  the  present  age  gladly  re- 
peats it.  It  is  certain  that  from  Eliot's  time  to  the  present 
not  a  single  earnest  effort  was  made  to  elevate  the  condition 
of  the  savages.  The  demoralized  tribes  of  the  east,  sunken 
almost  into  a  state  of  bestiality,  no  longer  afford  an  oppor- 
tunity for  such  effort.  But  the  numerous  tribes  of  the  west, 
wild,  barbaric,  and  degenerated  by  the  influence  of  self-seek- 
ing, bartering  or  arrogant  whites,  offer  a  rich  field  to  the 
missionaries  of  the  Christian  world.  These  Indians  are  not 
yet  brutalized.     The  force  of  love  can  reclaim  them."^-'^ 

Another  evidence  that  the  history  is  cultural  is  the  part 
the  "Volk'  plays  throughout.  Again  and  again  we  are  brought 
to  realize  the  importance  of  this  "Volksgeist.'  This  is  brought 
out  very  definitely  in  the  account  of  the  movement  toward 
democracy  within  the  colony.  The  movement  itself  is  as 
subtle  and  intangible  as  this  popular  spirit  which  so  many 
have  tried  to  define  without  success.  But  despite  its  subtlety 
and  intangibility  it  contains  the  germ  of  freedom  which  later 
grew  into  the  American  Revolution.  The  Germans,  more  than 
all  other  nations,  seemed  to  appreciate  the  power  of  this 
"Volksgeist";  we  may  not  say  that  they  laid  an  undue  em- 
phasis upon  it  when  we  look  at  present  day  Germany  and 
consider  that  the  force  which  made  it  what  it  is  was  born 
from  the  same  "Volksgeist".  Besides  this  term,  she  uses 
such  expressions  as  "Volksgunst",  "Grimm  des  Volkes",  Her- 
zen  des  Volkes".  "Volksaberglauben"  and  others.  All  of 
these  are  terms  found  in  cutural  histories,  but  represent  as 
well  circumstances  of  unbounded  significance  to  the  political 
and  industrial  development  of  a  country.     The  word  "Volks- 

127  Colonisation  von  Neu  England,  p.  430. 

—  100  — 


geist"  in  particular  has  been  interpreted  by  the  enthusiastic 
American  as  meaning  "sovereign  will  of  the  people",  and  too 
often,  also  has  become  the  mere  slogan  of  the  demagogue. 
Her  view  of  the  sovereign  will  of  the  people  stood  in  rather 
bold  opposition  to  Bancroft's,  but  was,  I  believe,  the  deeper 
and  clearer  interpretation  of  a  German  in  such  matters.  She 
said,  "The  sovereign  will  of  the  people  is  seldom  anything 
else  than  the  blind  feeling  of  an  ignorant  and  passionate  mob." 
^2®  Bancroft,  on  the  other  hand,  looked  upon  it  almost  as  upon 
something  sacred.  However,  Talvj's  viewpoint  did  not  pre- 
vent her  seeing  in  the  very  passion  of  the  mob  the  germs  of 
democracy  and  freedom.  It  was  merely  that  she  would  handle 
this  passion  in  a  more  careful  way,  so  that  it  might  not  be- 
come a  rebellion. 

Still  another  chapter  in  her  history  which  reads  like  a 
chapter  in  a  cultural  history  is  the  last  entitled,  "The  tone 
and  spirit  of  the  colonies."  It  is  a  chapter  so  worth  the 
reading  that  a  brief  summary  of  it  may  not  seem  out  of 
place — The  pestilence  of  the  body  which  prevailed  was  not 
so  deadly  as  the  diseased  spirit  of  the  people  which  led  to 
the  saying  that  the  devil  in  person  was  in  their  midst.  The 
belief  in  witchcraft  seized  the  people  like  a  convulsion.  Neither 
the  advance  of  science  nor  the  revelation  of  the  reformation 
had  allayed  the  idea  of  a  living  personal  devil.  Becker  and 
Thomasius  in  Germany  had  not  yet  brought  forth  victorious 
weapons  against  this  belief.  When  the  Puritans  left  England, 
superstition  was  at  its  height,  and  certainly  life  in  the  Ameri- 
can wilderness  with  its  accompanying  terrors  and  dangers  did 
not  ofifer  any  cultural  conditions  which  might  remove  these 
superstitions.  Superstitious  fancies  rather  found  nourish- 
m.ent  on  every  hand.  God  was  angry  and  heaven  had  to  be 
appeased,  and  this  could  be  accomplished  only  through  prayer, 
fasting,  and  penance.  When,  however,  in  an  ecstatic  moment 
of  prayer,  one  or  another  seemed  by  his  gestures  and  actions 
to  be  beside  himself,  he  was  immediately  considered  to  be 
under  the  influence  of  the  devil'. 

At  one  time,  Talvj  tells  us,  there  existed  in  the  colonies, 

128  Colonisation  von  Neu  England,  p.  453. 

—  101  — 


a  veritable  mad-house  where  for  days  the  'possessed'  raved  and 
howled.  The  whole  village  was  thrown  into  the  most  intense 
excitement  and  assembled  to  witness  the  work  of  the  devil. 
As  prayers  and  fasting  availed  nothing,  a  frightful  state  of 
affairs  ensued.  Superstition  made  it  possible  to  give  vent  to 
personal  jealousy  and  hatred  and  with  this  as  the  real  motive 
many  innocent  victims  suffered  tortures  and  even  death. 
These  persecutions  were  enough  to  drive  the  accused  mad 
and  so  tliey  really  seemed  to  justify  the  accusation.  Talvj's 
recital  of  the  imprisonments,  trials,  and  punishments  is  most 
vivid  and  impressive,  but  at  the  same  time  it  may  be  said 
that  her  treatment  of  the  situation  is  that  of  the  dispassionate 
scientist.  Most  historians  either  omit  the  portrayal  of  this 
condition  of  affairs,  or,  if  they  discuss  it,  make  only  super- 
ficial observations.  But  it  ought  not  to  be  ignored  for,  better 
than  anything  else,  this  outbreak  of  religious  perversion  ex- 
plains many  extraordinary  events  and  movements  in  the  early 
history  of  America,  as  well  as  in  our  present  time. 

As  may  have  been  gathered  from  even  the  brief  remarks 
which  have  been  made,  the  heaviness  of  her  style  might  offer 
a  basis  for  criticism ;  and,  indeed,  the  North  American  Review 
did  point  this  out  as  a  defect.  The  justification  of  her  solid 
and  weighty  prose  seems  to  me,  however,  to  be  plain;  for  her 
style  is  an  inevitable  consequence  both  of  the  purpose  of  his- 
torical narration  as  well  as  of  the  point  of  view  of  the  author. 
One  can  scarcely  expect  a  history  to  possess  the  vigorous 
style  so  much  a  necessity  of  successful  v/ritings  of  fiction.  The 
question  arises,  is  the  student  of  history  to  be  amused  or  in- 
formed? The  details  which  were  so  largely  responsible  for 
the  criticism  were  necessary  to  her  development  of  the  subject, 
for  as  she  said,  ''As  in  physical  so  in  political  bodies,  little 
things  have  developed  to  maturity  quite  as  remarkably,  as 
great  things."  ^'^ 

The  North  American  Review  considered  both  the  German 
language  and  the  subject  matter  which  she  chose  rather  too 
unwieldy  for  the  production  of  an  attractive  history.  In  com- 
paring her  style  with  Bancroft's  it  said,  "Talvj's  style  is  not 

129  Colonisation  von  Neu  England,  Introduction  xiv. 

—  102  — 


more  vivacious  or  epigrammatic  than  that  of  her  country- 
men in  general;  it  is  somewhat  tedious,  hardly  fresh  enough, 
either  of  fact  or  disquisition  to  justify  its  length  for  an  Am- 
erican reader.  Bancroft's  success  is  due  to  a  vigorous  imagin- 
ation and  a  crisp  nervous  style.  It  reveals  startling  and  bril- 
liant pictures,  being  a  work  of  genius  rather  than  laborious 
detail."  ^^°  In  the  face  of  the  critic's  national  bias  and  his 
limited  knowledge  of  German,  such  a  criticism  hardly  seems 
fair ;  nor  was  it  voiced  by  the  nation  for  whom  she  wrote.  In 
a  Biicherschau  for  1851  the  following  statement  gives  evidence 
of  the  very  favorable  reception  of  her  history  in  Germany: 
"Her  style  is  simple,  but  vivid  and  warm,  and  where  the 
circumstance  demands,  not  without  force  and  emphasis."  But 
that  not  all  American  critics  took  the  attitude  of  the  North 
American  Review  is  shown  by  the  following  extract  from  a 
clipping  of  one  of  the  contemporary  New  York  papers :  "The 
style  of  this  history  is  always  clear  and  forcible,  and  men 
and  things  are  brought  into  distinct  relief.  Without  exagger- 
ating the  Puritans,  it  does  them  justice,  and  while  treatmg 
them  in  a  friendly  and  sympathetic  spirit,  it  betrays  no  sense 
of  hereditary  obligation  to  set  their  virtues  too  strongly  forth. 
The  author  has  examined  what  she  saw  with  German  in- 
dustry and  thoroughness.  Not  only  ought  it  be  read  bv  Ger- 
mans in  Germany  but  also  the  Germans  here,  and  all  the 
Americans  who  can  read  German." 

Talvj's  own  judgments,  whenever  they  occur,  are  clear, 
pointed,  reasonable,  and  sound.  While  often  diametrically 
opposed  to  those  of  American  historians,  they  are  never  an- 
tagonistic in  temper.  She  has  always  stood  firmly  upon  her 
own  convictions,  and  given  expression  to  them  in  the  most 
direct  manner.  In  1852  William  Hazlitt,  recognizing  how 
great  a  store  house  of  historical  information  this  work  was, 
edited  a  translation  of  it  into  the  English  language.  The 
translation  does  not  by  any  means  do  the  original  justice,  as 
can  readily  be  inferred  from  the  following  article  found  in 
the  International  Magazine  for  1852,  "Mrs  Robinson  who 
left  New  York  several  months  ago  to  visit  her  relations  in 

^^^  North  American  Review,  vol.  Ixix. 

—  103  — 


Germany  writes  from  Berlin  to  the  Athenaeum  under  date  of 
Feb.  2,  'A  work  appeared  in  London  last  summer  with  the 
following  title:  Talvj's  History  of  the  Colonization  of  Am- 
erica, edited  by  Wm.  Hazlitt  in  two  volumes.  It  seems  proper 
to  state  that  the  original  work  was  written  under  favorable 
circumstances  in  Germany  and  published  in  Germany.  It 
treated  only  of  the  colonization  of  New  England  and  that 
only  stood  on  its  title  page.  The  above  English  publication, 
therefore,  is  a  mere  translation,  and  it  was  made  without  the 
consent  or  knowledge  of  the  author.  The  very  title  is  a 
misnomer;  all  references  to  authorities  are  omitted;  and  the 
whole  work  teems  with  errors,  not  only  of  the  press,  but 
also  of  translation, — the  latter  such  as  could  have  been  made 
by  no  person  well  acquainted  with  the  German  and  English 
tongues.  For  the  work  in  this  form,  therefore,  the  author 
can  be  in  no  sense  whatever  responsible."  ^^^ 

This  is  exceedingly  unfortunate,  for  the  original  is  probab- 
ly one  of  the  best  source  books  of  early  Colonial  history  in 
American  literature  to-day. 

CHAPTER  VI. 

Miscellaneous   Essays. 

With  a  view,  probably,  of  diffusing  among  her  German 
countrymen  a  knowledge  of  America  that  would  otherwise 
have  been  possessed  only  by  the  cultivated,  Talvj  wrote  articles 
for  several  of  the  most  popular  German  magazines  of  the 
time,  giving  interesting  bits  of  description  of  places  she  vis- 
ited, as  well  as  charming  pictures  of  early  American  life.  In 
one  of  these  papers,  which  will  be  considered  at  some  length 
later,  we  have,  so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  discover,  the  only 
direct  expression  of  her  views  regarding  slavery.  In  a  con- 
tribution to  the  North  American  Review  she  had  described 
Russian  slavery,  but  in  this  Germ.an  paper  she  expressed  her 
view  regarding  the  curse  of  slavery  to  America.  With  the 
same  desire  to  awaken  in  America  an  interest  in  Europe,  be- 
cause only  in  mutual  exchange  of  interests  did  she  feel  that 

'^^'^  International  Monthly  Magazine,  vol.  v,  p.  556,  1852. 

—  104  — 


the  highest  development  of  either  was  possible,  she  wrote  for 
several  of  the  leading  American  magazines  of  the  time;  among 
them,  besides  the  aforem.entioned  North  American  Review, 
Putnam's,  Sargent's  and  the  Atlantic  Monthly.  Not  only  is 
the  versatility  of  the  writer  shown  in.  the  wide  scope  of  sub- 
jects treated,  but  the  German  idea  of  universality,  so  definite 
a  purpose  of  her  life,  is  also  brought  out  by  her  efifort  to  com- 
bine German  and  American  culture. 

For  the  most  part  I  shall  touch  upon  these  articles  very 
briefly.  Of  the  eight  which  appeared  in  the  American  maga- 
zines, all,  with  the  exception  of  the  one  printed  in  Sargent's, 
are  accessible  to  any  who  may  care  to  read  them.  Of  Sargenfs 
Magazine,  however,  only  six  issues  were  published  between 
the  years  1843  and  1846;  and  after  a  long  search  I  found  in 
the  Chicago  Public  Library  the  number  which  contained  Talvj's 
article  on  "Goethe's  Loves",  a  subject  of  obvious  interest. 
Several  of  the  longer  essays  which  appeared  in  the  North 
American  Revietv  and  Biblical  Repository  appeared  in  book 
form  later,  and  have  already  been  discussed.  Four  of  the 
seven  dealt  with  Popular  Poetry  of  the  Teutonic,  Slavic, 
Spanish,  and  French  nations  respectively  and  are  reserved  for 
discussion  in  the  chapter  on  Popular  Poetry,  which  furnishes 
a  comprehensive  view  of  all  her  work  upon  that  subject.  The 
other  three  articles  were :  "The  Household  of  Charlemagne" 
in  the  North  American  Reviezv  for  1855 ;  "Russian  Slavery" 
in  the  North  American  Review  for  1856;  and  "Dr.  Faustus" 
in  the  Atlantic  Monthly  for  1858. 

"The  Household  of  Charlemagne"  was  called  forth  by 
a  review  of  two  German  histories  expressive  of  the  first  zeal 
on  the  part  of  national  historians  to  clear  up  the  comparative 
darkness  of  their  early  history.  Recognizing  the  peculiar 
charm  of  a  close  observation  of  the  private  life  and  individual 
habits  of  a  truly  great  man,  Talvj  confined  her  remarks  en- 
tirely to  the  private  life  of  Charlemagne,  and  this  she  presented 
in  an  exceedingly  interesting  manner.  So  far  as  I  know, 
there  is  no  other  similar  discussion  in  the  English  language 
of  this  phase  of  the  great  monarch's  life.  Its  chief  value  lay 
in  the  fact  that  it  stripped  off,  partially,  the  cloak  of  myth 

—  105  — 


and  legend  in  which  many  were  wont  to  cbthe  this  monumental 
figure  of  history. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  the  article  on  "Russian  Slavery" 
was  called  forth  by  the  situation  in  the  United  States.  As 
will  be  seen  later  in  this  chapter,  Talvj  did  not  come  out 
as  a  militant  abolitionist,  although  her  views  as  expressed  in 
one  of  her  papers  indicate  that  she  was  one  of  its  most  bit- 
ter opponents.  That  she  made  a  thorough  investigation 
of  the  question  of  servitude,  both  white  and  black, 
is  evidenced  throughout  both  articles.  While  she  did  not 
draw  parallels  between  Russian  and  American  slavery,  for 
each  in  itself  was  an  independent  institution,  a  burning  hatred 
for  its  effects  and  principles  pervaded  the  article.  In  the 
main  it  was  a  history  of  the  development  of  serfdom  in 
Russia,  pointing  out  how  liberty  among  the  working  classes 
diminished  little  by  little  until  even  the  mere  remnant  of  it 
disappeared.  She  concluded  with  the  only  reference  to  negro 
slavery  throughout  the  Vv-hole  discussion,  in  expressing  her 
opinion  that  Russian  slavery  was  superior  to  negro  slavery, 
since  even  under  its  worst  iniquities  moral  relations  were 
more  respected. 

The  "Dr.  Faustus,  "  article,  which  appeared  in  1858,  set 
forth  the  legend  of  Faust  as  well  as  its  historical  background. 
An  interest  in  Germany  and  its  culture  had  been  growing  con- 
stantly since  1840.  Goethe  had  at  once  appealed  to  the  Amer- 
icans as  one  of  the  foremost  of  writers  and  thinkers,  and 
his  "Faust"  was  arousing  the  greatest  enthusiasm,  so  that  this 
article  met  a  demand  which  was  felt  if  not  voiced. 

Turning  now  to  Talvj 's  German  magazine  articles,  we  find 
them  appearing  as  follows:  1845,  "Aus  der  Geschichte  der 
ersten  Ansiedelungen  in  den  Vereinigten  Staaten",  Raumers 
Taschenhuch ;  1856,  "  Ausflug  nach  Virginien,  "Westermanns 
Monatshefte;  1858,  "Anna  Louisa  Karschin,"  Westermanns; 
1860,  "Die  weissen  Berge  von  Neu  Hampshire",  Aus  der 
Fremde;  1860,  "Die  Shaker,"  Westermanns;  1861,  "Die  Falle 
des  Ottawas",  Westermanns;  1861,  "Deutsche  Schrifstellerin- 
nen  bis  vor  100  Jahren,"  Raumers  Taschenhuch;  1869,  "Die 
Kosaken  und  ihre  historischen  Lieder,"  Westermanns. 

—  106  -^ 


'  The  first  of  these  articles  may  be  somewhat  specifically 
termed  a  critical  biography  of  Captain  John  Smith,  whose 
name  and  story  have  become  a  veritable  national  legend.  It 
was  a  forerunner  of  her  history  of  New  England,  which  ap- 
peared in  1847,  and  bore  the  same  stamp  of  thorough  investi- 
gation of  original  sources.  The  history  of  Virginia  could 
not  be  better  given  anywhere.  The  romantic  element  in  the 
settlement  of  the  old  Dominion  colony  was  brought  out  with 
remarkable  skill.  No  new  and  startling  facts  appeared,  but 
the  old  were  presented  with  such  a  novel  and  instinctive 
grasp  of  causal  sequence  and  significant  interrelation,  that 
they  were  lighted  up  by  a  remarkable  vividness  and  interest 
and  the  reader  was  scarcely  conscious  of  reading  history  as 
such.  Naturally,  in  a  work  of  this  sort,  her  love  of  investiga- 
tion of  the  Indian  and  his  history  found  much  satisfaction, 
for  the  name  of  John  Smith  is  inseparably  associated  with 
that  of  the  Indian  King  of  Virginia,  Powhatan,  and  his  heroic 
daughter,  Pocahontas,  to  whose  intervention  his  life  is  so 
customarily  ascribed.  To  Germany,  then  intensely  interested 
in  x\merica  and  things  American,  this  bit  of  early  history 
must  have  been  most  welcome.  For  the  student  of  American 
history  today  it  contains  valuable  source  material. 

The  next  article,  "Ausflug  nach  Virginien,"  was  perhaps 
the  most  interesting  and  most  valuable  of  them  all.  It  was 
characteristic  of  the  woman  that  her  views  regarding  slavery, 
an  institution  which  she  hated  with  all  her  strength,  should 
have  made  their  first  modest,  if  positive  appearance,  in  a 
literary  work  so  retired  from  American  notice  as  a  bit  of 
travel  description  in  a  German  magazine,  and  in  the  German 
language.  She  was  always  keenly  interested  in  political  and 
social  situations  both  in  Germany  and  America,  but  never 
felt  that  the  expression  of  opinion  upon  them,  with  the  im- 
mediate purpose  of  reform,  was  becoming  to  a  woman.  It 
is  therefore  only  by  a  scrupulous  study  of  her  works  that  we 
find,  here  and  there,  concealed  under  cover  of  novel  or  history, 
certain  of  her  expressions  of  sentiment  that,  from  their  force, 
were  intrinsically  worthy  of  broadcast  publication. 

With  impartial  and   fearless   judgment  she  struck  at  the 

—  107  — 


cause  of  conditions  in  the  United  States  in  the  middle  of  the 
nineteenth  century.  As  she  was  not  a  native  of  either  north 
or  south,  and  as  she  loved  her  adopted  country  deeply  and 
truly,  her  view  was  clear  and  unobstructed  by  prejudice. 
"A  dark  cloud  hangs  over  the  inner  conditions  of  this  land," 
she  said.  "The  haughty  presumption  and  blinded  selfishness 
of  the  South  have  conjured  forth  this  cloud;  the  narrow  greed 
for  money  of  the  North  and  the  cowardly  fear  of  the  specter 
of  disruption  of  the  Union  have  inactively  watched  it  arise 
without  making  any  plans  for  protection.  And  now  it  hangs 
over  our  heads  black  and  foreboding,  threatening  to  break 
every  minute.  It  is  incomprehensible  how  carelessly  and 
indifferently  the  North  has  looked  upon  the  presumption  of 
the  South  for  years."  ^"^  Opposed  to  slavery  as  she  was,  she 
did  not  approve  the  methods  of  some  of  the  abolitionists,  as 
is  evidenced  by  her  remark,  "offended  by  the  passionate  cry 
of  rage  of  the  abolitionist  party  and  aroused  by  their  demands 
for  an  im.mediate  and  unconditional  surrender  of  all  their 
property  rights,  they  began  to  view  'our  own  perculiar  insti- 
tution' of  slavery  from  another  viewpoint;  indeed,  they  began 
to  nurse  and  pamper  it."  ^^^  Such  extremists  tried  to  set  up 
the  argument  that  the  slave  could  appreciate  freedom  only 
through  having  once  been  a  slave,  just  as  the  Spartans  taught 
the  Helots  to  appreciate  the  vices  of  drunkenness  by  making 
them  all  drunk.  Again,  the  Christians  of  the  South  attempted 
to  defend  slavery  on  a  religious  basis,  saying  that  it  was  the 
only  means  of  bringing  these  ignorant  untaught  Africans  into 
the  light  of  the  gospels.  This,  as  Talvj  commented,  was  a 
horrible  mockery,  when  one  considered  that  legal  marriage  was 
forbidden  to  negroes  in  certain  parts  of  the  South,  and  that  in 
South  Carolina,  at  least,  the  laws  forbade  them  to  read  the 
Bible  for  themselves.  She  pointed  out  that  a  view  not  uncom- 
monly given  utterance,  that  slavery  was  a  natural  condition  of 
the  laborer,  and  freedom,  of  the  owner  of  the  land,  was  indica- 
tive of  a  terrible  state  of  affairs  in  a  country  based  on  princi- 
ples of  democracy.    The  disgraceful  assault  upon  Sumner,  the 

Westermann's  Monathefte,  Oct.   1856— Mch.  1857,  p.  376. 
^^^Westermann's  Oct.   1856— Mch.   1857,  p.  377. 

—  108  — 


senator  from  Massachusetts,  by  Brooks,  the  senator  from  South 
Carolina,  following  Sumner's  eloquent  attack  upon  the  Kansas 
affair  and  Butler's  part  in  it,  was,  in  her  estimation,  one  of 
the  chief  of  the  incidents  which  finally  awakened  the  North 
to  action.  The  half-hearted  concern  of  the  free  states  in 
regard  to  slavery,  as  well  as  to  the  presumption  of  the  South, 
could  in  no  wise  find  an  excuse  in  her  eyes.  That  the  chains 
of  the  cursed  institution  had  stifled  progress  was  a  fact  patent 
on  every  hand  as  she  travelled  through  Virginia;  yet  slavery 
found  its  defenders  and  advocates.  Ohio,  Illinois,  Michi- 
gan, and  Wisconsin  had,  from  a  cultural  standpoint,  long 
since  outstripped  the  southern  states.  The  most  primitive 
methods  of  travel  were  still  in  use  in  the  South ;  bridges  across 
streams,  if  there  were  any  at  all,  consisted  of  tree  trunks ;  the 
houses  and  hotels  were  crude  and  lacking  in  ordinary  com- 
forts; nature  alone  seemed  at  its  best.  "Like  a  destructive 
mildew  slavery  lay  upon  the  land's  success;  like  a  treacher- 
ous cancer  it  gnawed  upon  its  otherwise  healthy  body."^^^  To 
her  this  blight  was  no  longer  a  question  of  politics,  but  one 
of  Christianity  and  humanity.  Yet  these  sentiments,  partisan 
and  heartfelt  as  they  were,  were  interwoven  with  admirable 
literary  skill  into  what  purported  to  be  a  purely  descriptive 
sketch. 

Interested  as  she  was  in  America  and  its  development,  she 
could  not  see  merely  the  external  conditions  and  objects  which 
came  in  turn  to  her  notice  as  she  traveled  from  place  to  place. 
When  in  Washington  she  did  not  fail  to  attend  meetings  of 
the  Senate ;  and  her  descriptions  of  the  more  important  mem- 
bers of  that  body  must  have  been  most  interesting  to  her 
German  readers.  Nineteen  years  before  .this,  at  a  itimd! 
when  some  of  America's  greatest  orators  were  at  their  height, 
she  had  attended  sessions  of  the  same  deliberative  assembly, 
to  hear  very  different  discussions,  for  then  the  tariff,  the 
national  finances,  and  the  right  of  nullification  were  prob- 
lems which  called  forth  bursts  of  oratory  and  eloquence.  Now 
for  the  most  part,  the  higher  flights  of  oratory  were  lacking, 
but  the  eloquence  called  forth  by  the  vital  questions  of  right 

13*  Westermann's,  1856—57,  p.  637. 

—  109  — 


and  wrong  was  deep  and  sincere,  and  in.  her  mind  greater 
than  the  pohshed  speech  of  Clay,  Webster,  and  Calhoun. 
The  men  who  debated  these  questions  were  greater  statesmen 
than  the  men  of  nineteen  years  before. 

Impartial,  unbiased  writers,  such  as  she,  were  needed  in 
America  at  this  time  more  than  ever,  and  as  suggested,  it 
was  America's  misfortune  that  Talvj  modestly  held  her  views 
so  completely  in  the  background. 

A  second  biography  in  this  group  was  that  of  Anna 
Louise  Karschin,  a  victim  of  unfortunate  circumstances  who 
produced  verses  which  received  the  commendation  of  Lessing. 
The  career  of  this  woman  afforded  one  of  the  most  remarkable 
and  characteristic  pictures  of  the  times,  and  a  rather  extended 
treatm.ent  of  the  life  of  her  mother,  which  Talvj  included, 
justified  itself  in  that  it  afforded  a  true  portrait  of  a  middle 
class  character  of  the  times.  This  'Natur-Dichterin',  the  'Ger- 
man Sapho',  as  Sulzer  called  her,  could  only  be  criticised  justly 
in  the  light  of  her  time  and  her  environment.  Talvj  did  not 
in  any  way  attempt  to  exaggerate  the  general  estimate  placed 
upon  her  worth,  and  I  feel  convinced  that  the  subject  appealed 
to  her  less  from  the  standpoint  of  the  woman  and  her  genius 
than  as  affording  an  excellent  opportunity  to  mirror  the  life 
of  the  first  and  second  quarters  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
Nevertheless,  the  character  of  the  woman  was  presented  in 
a  most  vivid,  interesting,  and  compassionate  manner. 

In  her  article  upon  the  "White  Mountains  of  New  Hamp- 
shire", Talvj  gave  some  very  interesting  descriptions  of  pro- 
vinical  life  as  well  as  of  scenery,  and  showed  how  the  hard, 
unyielding  granite  mountains  were  reflected  in  the  narrow 
conservatism  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  state. 

A  Sunday  with  the  Shakers  at  Hancock,  Pennsylvania, 
formed  the  basis  for  an  interesting  sketch  of  the  rather  fan- 
atic and  intellectually  stultifying  belief  then  so  dominant  in 
certain  parts  of  Pennsylvania.  She  seemed  to  have  the 
knack  of  describing  just  those  details  which  added  to  the 
realism  and  interest  of  situations  and  conditions. 

Her  article  on  "Die  Falle  des  Ottawas"  again  gave  her 
opportunity   to  satisfy  her   inclination  toward  historical  nar- 

—  110  — 


rative;  she  dealt  for  the  once  not  with  the  history  of  Am- 
erican colonization,  but  rather  with  a  phase  of  the  struggle 
between  the  English  and  French. 

Quite  naturally  she  was  interested  in  the  German  women 
who  had  previously  contribuated  to  literature.  The  article  on 
"Germany's  Women  Authors  up  to  a  Century  Ago"  was 
replete  with  much  valuable  information.  Except  in  choice  of 
material  and  facts,  however,  very  little  chance  was  given  for 
original  judgment  in  this  paper. 

As  late  as  1869,  a  year  before  her  death,  she  once  more 
found  expression  for  her  life-long  interest  in  popular  poetry  in 
an  essay  entitled,  "Die  Kosaken  und  ihre  historischen  Lieder." 
In  all  of  her  work  in  the  field  of  folk-song  she  showed  the 
keenest  appreciation  and  sympathy  with  the  natural  birth  and 
unconscious  development  of  poetry.  While  the  interests  of 
her  life  were  varied  and  her  efforts  were  invariably  successful, 
her  one  supreme  concern  was  still  the  study  of  popular  poetry 
and  its  bearing  on  the  culture  of  civilization.  This  last  article, 
unimportant  as  it  was,  would  have  completed  the  cycle  of 
activity  in  the  study  of  the  ballad  and  related  forms  which 
she  had  begun  forty-four  years  before  with  the  work  on  Ser- 
vian folk-lore,  and  would  thus  have  formed  the  most  appro- 
priate close  of  a  life  dedicated  chiefly  to  that  subject. 

The  variety  of  material  dealt  with  in  these  magazine  arti- 
cles is  a  tacit  witness  to  the  wide  interests  of  Talvj  and  the 
comprehensive  scope  of  her  mind.  She  never  manufactured 
literature,  but  wrote  for  her  love  of  expression  and  investiga- 
tion. This  love  for  the  work  left  an  invariable  mark  upon 
the  style  of  her  production :  an  intimacy  which  attracted  Ger- 
mans and  Am.ericans  alike. 

One  point  of  great  interest, — probably  of  even  greater  in- 
terest to  her  American  than  her  German  readers, — was  her 
detailed  explanation  of  many  names  of  places,  rivers,  and 
houses — names  which  at  this  remote  period  of  time  frequently 
seem  to  us  so  extremely  odd  as  to  defy  explanation.  All  too 
often  nowadays,  if  we  cannot  find  an  explanation  for  a  name, 
we  disregard  all  possibility  of  legendary  or  real  sentiment 
which  may  have  been  attached  to  the  name,  and  manufacture 

—  Ill  — 


a  new  name  or  appropriate  one  from  another  country.  Yet 
a  study  of  original  names  is  tantamount  to  a  study  of  history, 
for  invariably,  as  Talvj  often  unconsciously  demonstrated, 
the  name  is  intimately  connected  with  some  bit  of  local 
or  personal  history.  In  the  early  years  of  this  country 
personal  element  played  an  important  role  in  the  development 
of  our  political  as  well  as  our  cultural  history.  It  was  by 
means  of  little  details  such  as  these,  that  she  succeeded  in 
making  her  papers  very  readable  as  well  as  valuable  sources 
of  information.  The  American  need  not  dread  to  read  her 
German  articles,  for  the  subject  matter  and  her  method  of 
treatment  have  given  them  an  incisive  briskness  which  Am- 
ericans claim  to  be  lacking  in  ordinary  German  prose.  Un- 
fortunately the  German  articles  are  not  accessible  for  general 
reading.  However,  she  has  drawn  such  splendid  pictures  of 
American  life  in  the  earlier  years  of  the  republic,  in  her  book 
called  "The  Exiles',  that  a  translation  of  the  magazine  articles 
is  not  warranted.  The  question  of  slavery  is  settled  forever, 
and  excellent  and  sound  as  her  views  of  this  vital  question 
are,  they  fill  their  place  in  the  literature  on  the  subject  in 
their  original  German  form. 

Chapter  VII. 

A  Study  of  the  Ossian  Question  zvith  especial  emphasis  on 

Macpherson's  Ossian. 

At  the  time  when  the  cry  "Back  to  Nature"'  was  resound- 
ing through  all  Europe,  when  artificiality  was  giving  way  to 
spontaneity,  when  the  emotions  were  assuming  their  place  as 
a  guide  to  right  living,  when  the  poetry  of  primitive  peoples 
was  being  studied  as  a  means  to  the  revivifying  of  formal 
literature,  when  the  vague  and  sentimental  deism  of  Rousseau 
was  swaying  the  minds  of  many,  James  Macpherson  startled 
the  literary  world  with  his  songs  of  Ossian.  An  interest  in 
the  Scottish  Highlanders  was  already  well  established,  for  they 
seemed  the  exemplars  of  a  natural  mode  of  existence,  unre- 
strained and  unaffected  by  an  artificial  civilization.  They 
were  still  children  of  nature,  and  a  wild  nature  at  that.     In 

—  112  — 


order  better  to  understand  the  situation  that  gave  rise  to  Talvj's 
discussion,  it  will  be  well  to  give  a  brief  survey  of  the  so-called 
Ossian  question,  which  has  been  more  or  less  actively  dis- 
cussel  and  disputed  for  more  than  a  century. 

In  1759,  when  James  Macpherson  was  at  the  Spa  of  Mof- 
fat in  the  capacity  of  a  traveling  tutor,  he  struck  up  an  ac- 
quaintance with  the  author  John  Home.  When  Home  ex- 
pressed an  interest  in  Highland  poetry,  Macpherson  told  him 
that  he  possessed  several  specimens  of  this  traditionary  poetry. 
Not  knowing  a  word  of  Gaelic,  Home  suggested  that  Mac- 
pherson choose  one  poem  and  turn  it  into  English  prose. 
Macpherson  reluctantly  consented,  and  chose  for  translation 
the  "Death  of  Oscar"  and  several  smaller  poems.  The  de- 
lighted Home,  showed  them  to  several  learned  friends,  and 
finally  gave  them  to  Dr.  Hugh  Blair,  a  famous  theologian  and 
literary  critic.  The  latter,  becoming  enthusiastic,  sent  for 
Macpherson  and  begging  him  to  translate  all  he  had  in 
his  possession.  Macpherson  refused,  saying  that  he  could 
not  do  justice  to  the  spirit  of  the  poems  and  that  he 
feared  an  unfavorable  reception  of  them.  Finally  Blair 
prevailed  upon  him,  and  Macpherson  translated  some 
sixteen  pieces.  These  were  published  in  Edinburgh  in 
1760  under  the  title  Fragments  of  Ancient  Poetry,  Collected 
in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland  and  translated  from  the  Gaelic 
or  Erse  Language.  Blair  wrote  the  preface.  The  book  was 
immediately  successful.  David  Hume,  Horace  Walpole,  Wil- 
liam Shenstone,  and  Thomas  Gray  were  all  enthusiastic  and 
eagerly  demanded  further  details  of  Gaelic  poetry.  Blair  was 
convinced  that  an  old  epic  composed  by  Ossian,  the  blind  son  of 
Fingal,  lay  hidden  somewhere,  and  wrote  to  London  proposing 
that  a  subscription  be  raised  to  encourage  Macpherson  to 
make  a  search  for  it.  Macpherson  at  first  shrank  from  the 
proposed  task,  but  in  the  end  he  could  not  resist  Blair's  zeal 
and  enthusiasm,  and  when  £100  was  raised  to  defray  expenses 
he  accepted  the  commission.  He  knew  what  he  was  expected 
to  find.  In  September  of  1760  he  began  his  journey,  going 
through  the  shires  of  Perth  and  Argyle  to  Inverness,  thence 
to  Skye  and  the  Hebrides,  while  later  he  extended  his  inves- 

—  113  — 


ligations  to  the  coast  of  Argyleshire  and  the  Island  of  Mull; 
picking  up  Mss.  here  and  there,  and  committing  to  paper  some 
oral  recitations.  In  1761  he  returned  to  Edinburgh  and,  set- 
tling near  Blair,  began  to  translate.  Ten  months  later  his  book, 
Fingal,  appeared.  Unfortunately,  his  Mss.  as  well  as  the 
copies  of  songs  taken  from  oral  recitation  disappeared  entirely, 
so  that  his  own  word,  to  which  his  personal  morals  did  not 
give  a  very  redoubtable  backing,  remained  the  only  testa- 
ment to  the  genuiness  of  his  sources.  His  reference  to  what 
he  had  found  was  always  ambiguous.  Johnson,  a  member  of 
the  East  India  Company,  and  others  urged  him  to  strengthen 
his  assertions  by  a  publication  of  the  originals,  but  in  vain. 
Fear  that  a  comparison  would  reveal  the  forged  nature  of 
much  of  his  so-called  translations,  was  the  verdict  of  ninety- 
nine  out  of  a  hundred  men.  Suspicion  as  to  their  authenticity 
was  fanned  into  a  flame,  and  fierce  disputes  arose,  in  the  course 
of  which  Samuel  Johnson  almost  came  to  blows  with  Mac- 
pherson.  Walpole's  summary  of  the  quarrel  was  that  Mac- 
pherson  was  a  bully  and  Johnson  a  brute.  Hume,  who  at  the 
beginning  was  one  of  the  most  ardent  believers  in  Macpher- 
son,  changed  his  attitude  to  one  of  equally  ardent  condemnation. 
While  Macpherson  is  still  believed  to  be  an  impostor,  Eng- 
land does  not  now  take  Dr.  Johnson's  extreme  view  that 
every  one  of  the  so-called  poems  of  Ossian  was  forged.  That 
there  was  some  genuine  Gaelic  ballad  poetry  was  proved  by  the 
Highland  Society  of  Edinburgh  which  sent  a  commission,  in 
1797,  to  inquire  into  the  nature  and  authenticity  of  Ossianic 
literature.  The  result  of  this  investigation  was  not  very  satis- 
factory for,  as  published  in  1805,  they  reached  the  general 
conclusion  that  Ossian  poetry  of  an  impressive  and  striking 
character  was  to  be  found  generally  and  in  great  abundance 
in  the  Highlands,  but  thus  far  no  one  had  unearthed  a  poem 
similar  in  -title  or  tenor  to  Macpherson's  publication.  It 
was  impossible,  the  report  decided,  to  determine  how  far 
Macpherson  had  taken  liberties  in  supplying  connections  and 
adding  to  or  shortening  certain  incidents,  refining  language,  etc. 
Subsequent  researches  by  Scottish  antiquaries  have  had  little 
better  success.     One  manuscript  of  consequence  was  found, 

—  114  — 


The  Dean  of  Lismore's  Book,  which  was  dated  1512  to  1529. 
This  dispute  over  the  authenticity  of  Ossian  certainly  had  one 
great  result  in  that  it  led  directly  to  researches  into  the  antiqui- 
ties of  the  Kelts,  Teutons,  and  Slavs. 

So  much,  then,  for  a  brief  survey  of  the  situation  in  Eng- 
land. In  no  land  was  Ossian  greeted  with  such  general  and 
unbounded  enthusiasm  as  in  Germany.  Wilhelm  Scherer  said, 
"Addison  had  already  directed  attention  to  the  English  ballad 
poetry  and  Klopstock,  Gleim,  and  others  had  profited  by  his 
example.  Bishop  Percy's  collection  of  English  ballads  was, 
therefore,  received  with  general  rapture  in  Germany,  and  the 
sentimental  heroic  poetry  of  Celtic  origin,  which  Macpherson 
published  under  the  name  of  Ossian  was  greeted  with  enthusi- 
astic applause  by  a  race  of  poets  full  of  sentiment  and  war-like 
sympathies."  ^^^  There  were  two  reasons  for  this  enthus- 
iastic reception.  In  the  first  place,  it  had  long  been  the 
belief  that  the  Celtic  and  Germanic  nations  had  one  and  the 
same  origin,  the  Celtic,  perhaps,  being  the  more  ancient;  Os- 
sian then  was  the  long  hoped  for  German  Homer.  In  the 
second  place,  it  seemed  as  if  this  ancient  bard  was  truly 
the  voice  of  nature,  the  representation  of  primitive  man 
unadorned.  Up  to  this  time  all  that  poetic  feeling  had  to 
feed  upon  and  to  satisfy  its  longings, — aside  from  the  classics, 
of  course, — was  the  works  of  such  writers  as  Boileau  and 
Batteux.  Two  years  before,  in  1762,  an  incomplete  transla- 
lation  of  Shakespeare  had  come  tO'  Germany  and  had  com- 
manded immediate  attention.  It  is  a  matter  of  small  wonder, 
then,  that  when  Ossian  appeared  in  Geram.ny  in  1764,  it 
received  such  an  enthusiastic  welcome,  for  it  meant  satisfaction 
for  a  long  felt  want. 

The  number  of  writers  whose  productions  assumed  an 
Ossianic  hue,  or  the  number  of  discussions  and  translations 
of  Macpherson's  work,  would  indicate  the  extent  of  the  new 
Celtic  interest.  Translation  folowed  translation,  Talvj  tells 
us  in  her  introduction ;  Denis,  Harold,  Petersen,  Rhode,  Schu- 
bert, Jung,  Huber,  StoUberg,  all  claimed  German  origin  for 

135  Scherer,  A  History  of  German  Literature,  translated  by  C  ony- 
beare,  vol.  ii,  p.  56. 

—  115  — 


this  bard  of  nature.  Kiopstock,  Herder,  and  Goethe  came 
forward  as  enthusiasts  for  him ;  indeed  "the  best  and  the  no- 
blest of  the  nation  called  him  their  favorite  poet."  Klopstock 
and  Herder  never  doubted  the  authenticity  of  the  poems. 
Herder,  the  father  of  the  'Volkspoesie'  movement  in  Ger- 
many, based  many  of  his  theories  in  regard  to  popular  poetry 
upon  the  songs  of  Ossian.  He  spoke  of  him  as  the  "man  I  have 
sought."  Klopstock  in  his  enthusiasm  cried  out,  "Thou,  too, 
Ossian,  wert  swallowed  up  in  oblivion;  but  thou  hast  been 
restored  to  thy  position ;  behold  thee  now  before  us,  the  equal 
and  chalenger  of  Homer  the  Greek."  ^"^  Goethe,  in  his  first 
glow  of  appreciation  derived  great  inspiration  from  the  songs 
for  his  Werthers  Leiden,  but  in  his  later  years,  in  the  light 
of  scientific  investigation  of  Germany's  own  past,  which  de- 
stroyed the  old  belief  in  a  m.utual  origin  of  the  Celtic  and 
Germanic  nations,  he  became  thoroughly  convinced  that  these 
songs  were  not  genuine. 

The  enthusiasm  did  not  stop  in  Germany,  for  Italy,  Spain, 
France,  and  even  Poland  and  Holland  had  their  eras  of  Os- 
sianic  literature.    In  the  meantime  the  dispute  raged  blindly  in 
England.     From  the  controversy  there,  the  seed  of  suspicion 
was  slowly  and  surely  carried  across  the  waters  to  the  con- 
tinent, and  in  turn  new  disputes  and  investigations  arose  which 
finally  worked  against  the  popularity  of  Ossian  as  a  piece  of 
original   literature.     Within    a    short   time   it   was   generally 
accepted  that  Macpherson  had   not  translated  the  songs  of 
Ossian  but  had  cleverly,  and,  it  must  be  admitted,  with  con- 
siderable  genius,   collected   and   arbitrarily   fitted   together   a 
number  of  unrelated  short  fragments.     To  the  whole  he  had 
imparted  the  tone  and  effect  of  a  connected  narrative.     Mac- 
pherson's  great  and  unpardonable  sin,  as  Talvj  saw  it,  lay  not 
in  the  publication  of  his  Ossian,  but  in  im.posing  himself  upon 
the  public  as  a  translator  instead  of  an  author.     As  the  latter, 
considering  the  tendency  of  his  mind,  he  might  have  occupied 
a  most  honorable  and  significant  position  in  the  history  of  lit- 
erature,   for   as    Saintsbury   said,    "The   imposture   of    Mac- 
pherson is  more  interesting  as  a  matter  of  tendency  than  of 
13S  Moulton,  Library  of  Literary  Criticism,  vol.  iv. 

—  116  — 


essence.     The  world  wanted  romance;  it  wanted  the  Celtic 
vague."  ^^^ 

During  the  same  year  in  which  Talvj's  Die  Undchtheit  der 
Lieder  Ossians  und  des  Macpherson'schen  Ossian  insbeson- 
dere  was  published,  her  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder  also 
appeared ;  whether  written  earlier  or  later  is  of  small  moment. 
From  that  part  of  the  Charakteristik  dealing  with  Scottish 
folklore  we  realize  how  rich  she  considered  the  field  of  Scot- 
tish poetry.  This  interest,  together  with  her  unquenchable 
thirst  for  truth,  brought  into  play  both  the  knowledge  she 
had  gained  from  a  study  of  the  German  interpretation  of 
the  question  and  from  a  study  of  the  English.  This  included 
all  the  research  that  had  been  going  on  since  1797,  as  was 
evident  from  the  sources  she  cited  in  her  discussion. 

In  the  manner  characteristic  of  her  studies  in  popular 
poetry,  Talvj  introduced  her  Ossian  discussion  by  giving  her 
readers  an  historical  survey  of  the  primeval  period  in  Scot- 
land, and  of  Scotland's  early  relations  with  Ireland.  The 
relation  between  these  countries,  she  said,  became  closer  by 
intermarriage  and  education  until,  as  early  as  the  thirteenth 
century,  the  Irish  language  changed  from  a  court  language 
into  a  common  language  among  the  inhabitants  of  the  Scottish 
lowlands.  The  Gaelic  remained  in  the  mountains  and  on  the 
islands. 

Following  the  historical  background  was  a  brief  resume 
of  the  quarrel,  beginning  with  Hume's  first  suspicions  aroused 
imm.ediately  upon  the  publication  of  Ossian  in  1760  and  1761, 
Talvj  next  presented  her  German  readers  with  arguments 
against  the  antiquity  of  Macpherson's  Ossianic  poetry.  She 
admitted  the  presence  of  anachronisms  in  popular  poetry,  due 
to  the  fact  that  it  was  the  product  of  various  times  and  var- 
ious authors,  but  never,  she  declared,  could  the  anachronisms 
of  an  historical  personage  who  sang  of  events  either  immedi- 
ate, recent  or  contemporary,  be  justified.  The  Ossian  of  the 
third  century  certainly  m.ust  have  known  that  his  father  was 
not  Cuchullin's  contemporary,  for  Cuchullin  died  in  the  sec- 
ond century.     He  must  have  known  also  that  neither  in  Scot- 

137  Social  England,  vol.  v,  p.  262. 

—  117  — 


land  nor  Ireland  were  there  "castles  and  moss  covered  tur- 
rets" ^'^  in  the  third  century.  Stone  came  intO'  general  use  only 
shortly  before  the  English  invasion  in  the  twelfth  century. 
These  and  other  anachronisms,  according  tO'  Talvj,  made  it 
seem  almost  impossible  that  Macpherson's  Ossian  should  ever 
have  been  looked  upon  as  possessing  historical  accuracy. 

Without  denying  verbal  transmission  of  legend  and  history, 
Talvj  pointed  out  that  the  transm.ission  of  some  twenty  thou- 
sand lines,  together  with  the  main  facts  in  the  history  of  five 
generations,  became  a  second  weighty  argument  against  the 
genuineness  of  the  work. 

A  third  argument  was  the  question  of  the  language  itself. 
Some  of  the  greatest  Gaelic  and  Irish  scholars  before  Mac- 
pherson  had  been  unable  to  interpret  the  Erse  dialect,  and 
Macpherson  did  not  profess  to  be  a  great  scholar.  To  attempt 
to  prove  the  genuineness  of  the  songs  of  Ossian  by  means  of 
manuscripts  found  in  recent  centuries  was  to  deny  the  con- 
stant flux  of  language  from  one  period  to  another  .  "Tradi- 
tional folk-songs,"  said  Talvj,  "are  in  this  sense  comparable  to 
ships,  which  are  ever  being  repaired  with  new  wood,  until  in 
the  end  scarcely  a  single  part  in  them  is  exactly  the  same 
as  it  was  originally."^^^  To  pick  out  the  original  from  the 
interpolations  was  the  work  of  an  expert  philologist;  and 
Macpherson  himself  said  that  it  was  very  difficult  for  him,  on 
many  occasions,  to  translate  the  Gaelic.  Macpherson's  Os- 
sianic  manuscript,  what  there  was  of  it,  was  in  modern  GaeUc, 
and  not  in  the  Gaelic  of  the  third  century.  Furthermore, 
Macpherson's  Ossianic  manuscripts,  when  compared  with  pro- 
ductions of  the  earliest  times,  showed  clearly  that  both  con- 
tent and  form  were  not  what  they  purported  to  be.  The  verse 
of  the  undisputed  MSS.  seemed  uniformly  to  consist  of  fifteen 
to  sixteen  syllables,  with  a  caesura  in  the  middle,  and  with  the 
first  division  rhyming  with  the  last ;  the  verse  of  Macpherson's 
original  songs,  however,  occurred  nowhere  in  the  oldest  histor- 
ical Gaelic  documents.  The  variance  in  content  was  equally 
obvious. 

i38Talvj,  ^wian,  p.  48. 
i3»  Talvj,  Sssian,  p.  54. 

—  118  — 


Talvj  did  not  attempt  to  disprove  that  Finn  remained  for 
centuries  the  central  figure  of  Gaelic  legend.  "Just  as  Arthur 
and  his  round-table  for  the  Britons  and  later  for  all  the  west- 
ern peoples,  Dietrich  and  his  heroes  for  the  Germans,  Charle- 
magne and  his  peers  for  the  Franks  and  Spaniards,  Wladimir 
and  his  'Bojaren,'  Lasar  and  his  'Woiwoden'  for  the  Russians 
and  Servians,  Dschanger  and  his  twelve  warriors  for  the  Kal- 
mucks, Finn  and  his  followers  remained  for  the  Gaels  the  cen- 
tral point  of  the  great  cycle  of  legend  which  imbedded  it- 
self, with  all  its  peculiarities,  in  the  various  localities  of  the 
country.""" 

The  original  Irish  Ossian  documents  displayed  a  language 
which  was  always  simple ;  similies  and  metaphors  were  not  fre- 
quent. The  action  as  well  as  the  language  of  Macpherson's 
Ossiaii  was  refined  to  such  an  extent  that  even  the  superficial 
student  of  popular  legend  realized  an  unnatural  nicety.  The 
heroes  in  the  original  Ossian  fragments  were  quite  as  noble  as 
those  of  Macpherson,  even  if  they  were  less  shadowy  and  more 
the  creatures  of  human  passions ;  the  women  were  quite  as 
beautiful  and  charming,  even  if  less  refined  and  polished. 
The  characters  of  the  original  bore  the  stamp  of  their  time. 
"Folklore  is  often  rough  and  harsh,  but  it  is  always  fresh, 
direct,  sensual,  and  artistic,"  said  Talvj,  and  for  this  very 
reason  the  sublime  and  pure  speech,  the  commanding  char- 
acter of  Macpherson's  Ossian  argi:ed  against  its  genuineness. 

The  Highlanders  were  a  credulous  people  and  intensely 
proud  of  their  nation.  This  patriotism  had  blinded  them  to 
the  fact  that  the  home  of  Ossian  was  Ireland.  There  was 
scarcely  a  song  found  among  the  Highlands  that  did  not  have 
its  original  counterpart,  written  or  traditional,  somewhere  in 
Ireland.  In  earlier  years,  it  was  realized  that,  from  a  literary 
viewpoint,  Scotland  was  entirely  dependent  upon  Ireland. 
If  a  Gael  wanted  to  learn  more  than  warfare,  he  went  to  Ire- 
land, where,  even  amid  war  and  bloodshed  science  flour- 
ished in  the  convents  and  monasteries.  After  the  English 
invasion  it  is  not  at  all  improbable  that  the  Scotch  attend- 
ants of  the  Irish  princes  carried  the  songs  back  to  their  homes. 

Ko  Talvj,  Ossian,  p.  67. 

—  119  — 


For  the  sake  of  argument  Talvj  granted  that  Macpherson 
might  have  possessed  some  old  Erse  manuscripts  that  served 
him  as  originals.  But  with  this  supposition  four  questions  arose 
at  once :  Were  the  manuscripts  really  from  a  single  period  of 
antiquity?  Was  the  language  Erse?  Was  it  Ossianic  poetry? 
Was  Macpherson  able  to  decipher  it?  Nothing  in  the  nature 
of  this  kind  of  manuscript  was  found  among  his  papers.  A 
repeated  reference,  however,  was  made  to  a  Gaelic  manuscript 
in  the  possession  of  the  family  of  Clanronald.  It  was  said  that 
Macpherson  secured  this  manuscript,  but  what  developed  from 
it  was  not  known.  All  Highland  poetical  composition  of  cer- 
tain periods  was  written  in  Irish  Gaelic.  The  folksingers 
imitated  this  as  best  they  could  in  dialect.  The  Erse  language 
was  regarded  as  a  dialect  of  the  Irish-Gaelic.  As  far  as  Talvj 
could  discover  it  had  never  been  written  or  printed  prior  to 
1754,  when  a  minister  by  the  name  of  Macfarlane  used  the 
Erse  in  a  popular  appeal.  With  the  Reformation  the  High- 
land's dependence  on  Ireland  ceased,  and  in  1684  a  Gaelic  ver- 
sion of  the  Psalms  was  made  in  Scotland,  Latin  letters  being 
used.  And  so,  if  Macpherson  possessed  old  manuscripts  these 
would  have  been  Irish-Gaelic.  He  himself  admitted  once  that 
he  could  not  read  an  Irish  manuscript  of  the  fourteenth  cen- 
tury which  was  shown  to  him ;  yet  according  to  O'Reilly  it  was 
not  unusual  for  Irish  scholars  of  even  slight  training  to  de- 
cipher fourteenth  and  fifteenth  century  manuscripts. 

From  these  arguments  against  the  possibility  that  Macpher- 
son had  been  a  translator  of  Gaelic,  Talvj  proceeded  to  prove 
that  in  all  probability  he  was  himself  the  clever  author  of  Ossian. 
Undoubtedly,  at  first,  he  had  no  idea  of  going  so  far  with  the 
work  as  he  did.  Choosing  the  third  century  as  the  background 
in  which  to  give  his  fancy  free  rein,  was  a  clever  method  of 
arousing  the  attention  of  the  public  to  extraordinary  themes. 
Another  ingenious  stroke  of  Macpherson's  was  that  he  gave  to 
all  the  poems  of  his  first  publication  an  apparent  authenticity, 
as  for  example  in  the  case  of  his  great  epic  Fingal.  This  was 
based  on  the  "Song  of  Magnus  the  Great."  His  "Schlacht  von 
Lora"  was  based  on  "Ergons  Landung"  etc.  In  his  second 
publication,  however,  very  few  if  any  had  any  basis  of  author- 

—  120  — 


ity.  The  success  of  the  first  volume  probably  made  him  feel 
that  a  second  would  be  quite  as  generally  accepted,  on  the 
reputation  of  the  first,  even  if  he  did  not  take  the  added  pre- 
caution of  giving  it  an  authentic  basis. 

Literary  forgery  such  as  Macpherson's  was  not  at  all  an 
unheard-of  thing  in  England.  Lauder  before  Macpherson,  and 
Chatterton,  contemporary  with  him,  were  both  forgers.  The 
former  made  Latin  verses  which  he  gave  to  the  public  as  the 
original  of  Milton.  The  latter  composed  poems  which  for  a 
time  he  made  the  public  believe  to  be  productions  of  the  fif- 
teenth century.  But,  said  Talvj,  "Such  an  artistic  assertion,  such 
hoods,  lies,  misrepresentations,  and  unfounded  assertions,  such 
a  hodge-podge  of  historical  events,  had  never  before  appeared 
in  the  history  of  any  land,  and  this  it  is  which  despite  all  his 
fame  as  a  poetic  genius  will  ever  be  the  constant  reproof  to 
Macpherson. ""1 

In  one  very  important  point  Macpherson  was  not  far- 
sighted  enough  in  his  cleverness;  he  left  out  the  element  of 
religion  almost  completely.  In  all  of  the  Ossianic  poetry  of 
both  Ireland  and  Scotland  there  is  a  great  intermixture  of 
religious  feeling,  even  of  Christian  religion ;  yet  in  substitution 
for  it  he  introduced  only  a  species  of  mythology  of  the  super- 
natural. Whatever  critical  or  general  approbation  was  given 
to  this  spirit  world  was  a  clear  tribute  to  Macpherson's  genius, 
for  not  a  hint  of  it  was  discernible  in  the  Gaelic  folk-songs. 

The  history  of  how,  in  the  face  of  an  unceasing  insistence 
upon  the  publication  of  the  original  documents,  Macpherson 
still  delayed,  making  excuse  after  excuse  until  finally,  when  he 
did  present  them,  the  critics  felt  firmly  convinced  that  they  were 
Gaelic  translations  of  his  own  English,  and  poor  translations  at 
that,  is  known  to  all  who  followed  this  question  with  any  de- 
gree of  thoroughness.  Sir  Walter  Scott,  among  many  others, 
had  no  doubt  whatever  that  Macpherson  himself  had  trans- 
lated his  own  English,  making  good  use  of  his  innate  feeling 
for  the  form  and  style  of  the  old  Scotch  bards.  "I  am  com- 
pelled to  admit,"  he  said,  "that  incalculably  the  greater  part 
of  the  English  Ossian  must  be  ascribed  to  Macpherson  him- 

"1  Talvj,  Ossian,  p.  110. 

—  121  — 


self,  and  that  the  whole  introduction,  the  notes,  etc.,  are  an  ab- 
solute tissue  of  forgeries.""-     "In  the  translation  of  Homer," 

he  again  remarked,  "he  lost  his  advantage A  tartan 

plaid  did  not  fit  his  old  Greek  friend.""^  The  success  of  his 
Ossian  misled  him  into  believing  that  the  could  master  the 
style  of  Homer ;  he  was  a  man  whom  talent  led  astray. 

In  closing  her  discussion,  Talvj  presented  a  concise  ac- 
count of  Gaelic  folklore  in  Scotland  in  her  own  time.  She 
pointed  out  that,  as  such,  it  was  fast  disappearing,  and  unless 
the  most  strenuous  effort  were  made  to  preserve  what  frag- 
ments were  yet  available,  this  treasure  of  song  and  poetry 
would  be  irrevocably  lost  like  the  great  mass  of  primitive 
folklore  had  been. 

This,  then,  was  the  contribution  which  Talvj  made  to  the 
discussion  concerning  the  authenticity  of  Macpherson's  Ossian. 
No  one  in  England  or  Germany  was  more  qualified  to  end  the 
dispute ;  for  since  the  time  of  Herder  no  scholar  had  possessed 
so  comprehensive  and  deep  a  knowledge  of  folksong  as  she, 
not  even  Wilhelm  Grimm.  The  disputes  in  Great  Britain  had 
become  mere  sectional  squabbles  with  England  on  one  side,  en- 
tirely ignorant  of  the  nature  of  the  Volkslied,  and  Scotland  on 
the  other,  entirely  carried  away  by  a  blind  and  false  patriotism. 
Lacking  scientific  basis  for  the  arguments,  these  squabbles  be- 
came so  petty  and  involved  that  their  solution  seemed  almost 
impossible.  At  this  juncture,  viewing  the  whole  situation 
calmly  and  without  bias,  in  the  light  of  the  discovery  of  Ger- 
many's own  past,  and  of  the  new  vision  revealed  by  the  old 
Norse  folklore  and,  what  is  even  more  significant,  in  the  light 
of  the  knowledge  which  she  herself  had  brought  before  the 
world  by  unearthing  the  very  springs  of  a  living  poetry  among 
the  Slavic  nations,  Talvj  took  up  the  discussion.  The  result 
of  her  work  was  a  triumph  not  only  for  her  but  for  truth,  for 
the  disputes  in  both  England  and  Germany  came  to  an  end. 
It  is  only  within  very  recent  years  that  Saunders  and  Smart 
have  again  taken  up  the  question.  But  a  careful  investigation 
of  their  work  merely  reveals  the  fact  that  as  early  as  1840 

"2  Lockhart,  Life  of  Scott. 
1*3  Talvj,  Ossian,  p.  110. 

_  122  — 


Talvj  had  access  to  practically  all  of  the  material  which  is  to 
be  obtained  even  at  the  present  day ;  and  she  used  it  more 
scientifically. 

Chapter  VIII. 

Her  Novels. 

In  the  early  part  of  the  eighteenth  century  questions  of 
the  relation  of  life  to  moral  standards  became  objects  of  pop- 
ular consideration,  and  a  new  interest  awoke  in  everyday  exist- 
ence. Those  who  had  once  attended  merely  to  external  cir- 
cumstances in  human  afifairs  came  more  and  more  to  investi- 
gate the  inner  thoughts  and  feelings  of  man.  Out  of  this 
subjective  tendency  of  the  age  was  evolved  a  new  psychology 
and  a  new  m.orality.  In  the  family,  as  Richardson  showed  in 
his  Pamela,  lay  new  motivations  and  new  conflicts;  and  prob- 
lems of  the  family  are  a  prominent,  if  not  a  dominant,  factor 
in  literature  to  the  present  day.  The  women  characters  lost 
their  stereotyped  character  and  became,  according  to  David 
Swing,^**  the  white  ribbon  that  binds  together  the  truths  gath- 
ered in  the  fields  of  science,  religion,  and  politics.  This  Talvj 
illustrated  in  her  Heloise. 

The  tendency  to  introspection  led,  as  we  know,  to  the 
melancholy  romance  of  passion  of  which  Goethe's  Werthers 
Leiden  was  the  foremost  example.  The  whole  period  is  some- 
times characterized  as  the  ' EmpUndsame  Werther-Z eitalter' .^*'^ 
This  introspection  was  a  marked  characteristic  in  Talvj 's 
novels  and  short  stories,  whose  common  theme  was  a  sen- 
sitive heart  brought  into  conflict  with  the  rough  world,  and 
frequently  overcome  by  the  struggle.  This  romantic  tone  was 
maintained  even  in  her  last  novel,  Fiinfzehn  Jahre,  (1868)  in 
which  she  developed  a  nature  almost  antipodally  removed  from^ 
the  realistic  creations  of  the  later  nineteenth  century.  Again 
and  again,  especially  in  her  short  stories,  her  characters  were 
embodiments  of  that  vagrant,  self-centered  romanticism  which, 
following  its  own  free  inclinations,  wandered  inevitably  into 

1**  Modern  Eloquence,  vol.  ix. 
i«  Mielke. 

—  123  —      ' 


wrong  paths.  Through  the  favor  of  external  circumstances 
conjoined  often  with  the  pure  love  of  a  good  woman,  they 
were  brought  back  from  the  very  brink  of  self-destruction  into 
the  sane,  well-ordered  atmosphere  of  practical  activity  from 
which  they  had  w^andered.  This  was  especially  shown  in  Life's 
Discipline,  Bin  Bild  aiis  seiner  Zeit,  Der  Lauf  der  Welt,  and 
others.  In  Das  vergebliche  Opfer  the  development  was  en- 
tirely subjective,  and  in  every  way  displayed  the  influence  of 
romanticism. 

It  is  significant  that  out  of  eleven  productions,  generally 
classed  as  novels,  eight  were  novelets,  that  form  of  Ger- 
man narration  which,  while  corresponding  in  many  respects 
to  the  English  short  story,  in  many  others  stands  midway 
between  it  and  the  novel.  As  a  literary  form  it  was  un- 
doubtedly much  better  calculated  to  appeal  to  the  popular  taste 
than  the  German  Roman,  but  whether  Talvj  consciously  adopted 
it  for  this  reason  or  not,  is  unknown.  At  any  rate,  she  was  not 
a  novel  writer  in  the  ordinary  sense  of  the  word  'novel' ;  while 
as  a  writer  of  sketches,  especially  those  with  a  romantic  color- 
ing, she  was  decidedly  successful.  The  following  quotation 
from  a  New  York  newspaper  of  1851  expresses  the  sentiment 
I  have  in  mind  in  regard  to  her  works  in  this  field:  "The 
tales  of  Talvj  will  not  charm  the  simpering  Miss  of  the  board- 
ing school.  They  will  be  pronounced  uninteresting  in  the 
drawing  room  of  fashion.  But  in  the  domestic  circle,  where 
intellect  is  admired  and  purity  is  reverenced,  where  knowledge 
and  virtue  are  sought  in  the  book  that  is  to  entertain  the  family 
group,  these  truthful  tales  of  the  human  heart  will  be  more 
than  welcomed  as  guests,  will  be  loved  as  friends."  The  names 
of  the  characters  in  Talvj 's  books  will  undoubtedly  be  for- 
gotten by  her  readers,  as  will  the  characters  themselves,  but 
the  moral  will  continue  to  exist  either  as  an  exarr.ple  or  as  a 
warning.  The  tragedy  of  life,  as  she  showed  us,  lies  not  w-ithin 
the  realm  of  the  tangible,  but  rather  within  that  of  the  spirit. 
Jealousy  played  an  important  part  in  her  representations  of 
life,  sometimes  prevailing,  sometimes  vanquished  by  reason 
and  by  the  steadfastness  of  a  woman's  devotion, — the  latter  a 
prominent  element  in  almost  all  of  her  works  of  this  nature. 

—  124  — 


All  of  her  novels  were  written  in  German ;  four,  at  least, 
have  been  translated  into  English.  The  fact  that  Heloise 
passed  through  three  English  editions  in  one  year  testified 
strongly  to  the  general  acceptance  of  her  work  by  American 
readers.  Die  Auswanderer  also  had  several  English  editions, 
appearing  first  under  the  title  of  l^Jie  Exiles,  and  later  as 
Woodhill.  It  would  of  course  have  been  preposterous  to  ex- 
pect that  her  works,  psychological  as  they  were,  should  attain 
great  popularity;  and  if  popularity  be  measured  by  circu- 
lation, her  novels  fell  far  short  of  it.  Although  lacking  a  wide 
appeal,  they  possess  a  depth  and  truth  in  the  portrayal  of  char- 
acters and  situations  which  should  insure  for  them  a  lasting 
existence  in  literature.  One  of  the  New  York  papers  in 
speaking  of  her  works  said,  "They  possess  a  classic  simplicity 
of  style  and  clearness,  and  of  refinement  of  presentation.  They 
are  true  pearls  of  literature  in  the  field  of  novel  writing."  ^*^ 

Her  novels  fall  into  four  divisions.  In  the  first  are  six 
short  tales  which  her  daughter,  Mary,  published  after  Talvj's 
death,  under  the  title  of  Gesammelte  Novellen  and  two,  Maria 
Barcoczy  and  Kurmark  und  Kaukasus,  which  I  was  unable  to 
find.  The  second  division  is  represented  by  Heloise,  the  third 
by  Piinfsehn  Jahre  and  the  fourth  by  her  most  important  novel, 
Die  Ausivanderer.  I  shall  discuss  them  in  this  order,  with 
especial  emphasis  on  the  last. 

The  tales  contained  in  the  book,  Gesammelte  Novellen,  repre- 
sented, in  a  certain  measure,  the  beginning  and  the  end  of  a  long 
literary  career.  Nearly  a  half  century  elapsed  between  the  first 
story,  "Die  Rache,"  written  in  1820,  and  the  last,  "Ein  Bild 
aus  seiner  Zeit,"  written  in  1868.  The  author  herself  realized 
that  several  of  the  earlier  ones  bore,  too  plainly,  the  stamp  of 
youth,  and  intended  to  reconstruct  them ;  but  death  overtook 
her  before  she  accomplished  this  task. 

The  characters,  as  Talvj  herself  said,  are  "not  ideal  charac- 
ters, such  as  the  heart  creates  out  of  immature  poetic  fancy ; 
they  are  human  beings  whom  I  portray — truly  human  in  their 
sins  and  their  virtues.     The  reader  will  seldom  wonder  about 

I*''  New  Yorker  Belletristisches  Journal. 

—  125  — 


them,  but  perhaps  he  will  sympathize  with  them  and  love  them. 
It  is  not  the  force  of  an  exterior  fate  which  will  attract  the 
reader's  attention  for  a  time;  their  peculiar  characteristics, 
their  feelings,  their  reason,  their  hatred  and  their  love,  their 
insight  and  their  deceptions,  these  traits  form  the  attractive 
features.  Not  external  but  internal  necessity  leads  the  char- 
acters on  to  their  happiness,  or  their  misery."  This  last  sen- 
tence particularly  expresses  the  whole  underlying  thought  of 
her  stories — "in  each  human  breast  rests  the  power  over  one's 
own   destiny." 

Of  all  her  novels  Die  Aiisivanderer  was  perhaps  of  greatest 
interest  to  her  American  readers,  because  it  dealt  with  Amer- 
ica and  Americans.     Before  entering  upon  a  discussion  it  may 
be  well  to  consider  briefly  certain  works  of  another  author 
which  were  similar  in  nature  to  Talvj's  Die  Aiiszmndercr.    As 
early  as  1828  Charles  Sealsfield  saw  the  influence  of  European 
politics  upon  Anierica  and  expressed  this  in  The  Americans  as 
They  Are.     During  the  year  1823  he  made  an  extended  trip 
through  the  southern  and  western  parts  of  the  United  States. 
In  1824  he  was  active  in  Jackson's  compaign  for  the  presidency ; 
and  in  1825  he  took  part  in  the  Harrisburg  convention,  whose 
proceedings  he  later  depicted  vividly.    In  1825  he  made  another 
trip  south,  passing  through  parts  of  Illinois  and  Indiana  on  his 
way  to  New  Orleans.  The  two  books  which  were  the  outgrowth 
of  this  tour,  the  one  just  mentioned  and  Lebensbildcr  in  dcr 
westlichen  Hemisphdre,  are  exceedingly  valuable  as  cultural- 
historical  studies.^*^    His  works  are  among  the  few  American 
historical  novels  that  are  true  to  life,  because  written  by  one 
unrestrained  by  prejudice  or  political  or  social  connection.  He 
gave  a  photograph  of  Americanism  in  all  its  details,  national 
and  moral,  public  and  private,  spiritual  and  material,  religious 
and  political.    Until  the  beginning  of  the  fifties  his  books  were 
eagerly  read.    With  the  establishment  of  the  Republican  party 
a  great  change  in  attitude  toward  the  past  swept  over  the  whole 

"^Sealsfield  was  the  founder  of  a  school  of  romance  in  German 
literature,  known  as  the  "Exotische  Culturroman".  This  school  gave 
great  impetus  to  realism  in  Germany  and  may  be  considered  a  stepping 
stone  to  the  "Zeitroman"  of  Gutzkow.    See  Americana  Germania,  vol.  i. 

—  126  — 


country,  and  America  began  to  forget  her  own  origin.  Now 
the  importance  of  a  past  cuUure  and  history  is  being  recognized 
more  and  more,  and  these  early  pictures  of  Americans  and 
American  Hfe  are  being  brought  forth  for  reconsideration. 

Just  at  the  time  when  the  poHtical  and  social  change  of  the 
early  fifties  began  to  sweep  over  the  country,  we  see  a  rival 
to  Sealsfield  in  Talvj.  There  are  no  other  novelists  of  this 
period  worthy  of  being  classed  with  these  two  writers.  Both 
were  German,  yet  both  loved  America  impartially.  Franz  von 
Loher  placed  Talvj  above  Sealsfield,  despite  a  statement  that 
Sealsfield  was  the  "greatest  American  stylist."  "No  one,"  said 
Loher,  "has  ever  penetrated  so  deeply  into  the  real  American 
thought  and  feeling,  which  contain  just  as  much  of  the  bizarre 
as  of  the  charming."  To  him  Sealsfield's  portrayals  seem  over- 
drawn and  clouded  in  comparison  with  Talvj 's  clear,  naive 
truth.  This  statement  is  slightly  unfair,  inasmuch  as  the  sub- 
ject matter  is  treated  from  a  different  viewpoint.  Talvj  pen- 
etrated into  the  secret  recesses  of  American  thought ;  Sealsfield 
observed  more  superficially,  and  portrayed  what  he  saw.  The 
two  supplement  each  other,  and  together  supply  a  unique  con- 
tribution to  American  literature.  Some  other  writers  on 
phases  of  this  early  life  are  Buckingham,  Dwight,  Thwaite, 
Trollope,  Martineau  and  Mjargaret  Fuller,  but  none  of  them 
have  given  us  such  vivid  pictures  as  Sealsfield  and  Talvj. 
Their  descriptions  are  in  the  nature  of  im.pressions  gained 
through  travel,  and  a  reading  of  them  gives  one  a  feeling  of 
better  acquaintance  with  his  American  ancestors,  and  an  insight 
into  the  existence  of  forces  working  for  or  against  a  national 
culture.  In  this  Talvj  succeeded  better  than  Sealsfield,  and 
I  would,  therefore,  place  her  first  in  this  particular  field  of 
American  literature. 

Let  us  turn  now  to  a  consideration  of  Die  Auswanderer, 
which  appeared  in  1852.  Judged  as  a  connected  tale,  it  has 
many  faults  of  technique;  but  as  a  series  of  sketches  it  is 
above  criticism.  Talvj  would  have  us  consider  it  in  this  light, 
for  in  her  introduction  she  said :  "I  do  not  aim  to  give  a  full 
picture  of  North  America  to  my  readers,  but  rather  only 
detached  pictures  out  of  American  life,  as  they  have  appeared  to 

— »  127  — 


me  during  the  experience  of  many  years."  ^*®  She  purposely 
omitted  poHtics,  for  in  her  estimation  they  were  outside  of  the 
sphere  of  a  true  woman.  Some  of  the  characters  are  drawn 
so  vividly  and  with  such  startling  adherence  to  reality  that 
they  seem  to  be  real  personages.  To  those,  however,  who 
voice  this  impression  she  answers  that  individual  truth  is  not 
always  personal  truth.  None  of  the  characters  are  portrayals 
of  definite  persons,  none  of  the  situations  are  descriptions  of 
actual  occurrences.  A  calm  quiet  tone  pervades  her  scenes. 
Even  sketches  which  picture  intense  moments  of  pain  and 
suffering  are  characterized  by  quietness  and  restraint. 

A  brief  consideration  of  the  beginning  of  the  story  will 
suffice  to  show  the  trend  of  the  book  and  to  suggest  its  de- 
velopment. A  wealthy  German  girl,  an  orphan,  comes  of  age 
and  inherits  her  property.  In  an  interview  with  her  guardian, 
she  announces  her  intention  of  proceeding  at  once  to  America 
with  her  lover,  Franz  Hubert.  She  has  succeeded  in  obtain- 
ing Hubert's  release  from  prison,  where  he  had  been  thrown 
for  a  political  offense,  only  on  condition  that  they  should 
emigrate  to  the  United  States.^*^  Neither  Hubert  nor  Klothilde, 
the  heroine,  are  temperamentally  fitted  for  the  trials  and  hard- 
ships to  be  encountered  in  settling  in  a  new  country.  Types 
of  the  highest  culture,  they  little  realize  what  it  will  mean  to 
live  the  life  of  a  pioneer  in  the  midst  of  primitive  conditions. 
Klothilde's  guardian,  who  is  himself  desirous  of  marrying  her, 
uses  all  his  power  to  dissuade  her  from  taking  this  step,  but  in 
vain.  She  joins  her  lover  at  Bremen,  expecting  to  be  married 
before  stepping  upon  the  ship.  But  as  the  ship  in  which  they 
are  to  sail  for  America  is  on  the  point  of  departure  and  all  is 
hurry  and  bustle,  the  lovers  have  no  time  for  the  marriage 
service,  for  Klothilde  will  not  rush  through  the  sacred  cere- 
mony as  one  rushes  through  a  meal  while  the  coach  waits  at 
the  door.  As  there  is  no  pastor  on  board,  they  are  obliged  to 
postpone  the  ceremony  until  they  reach  the  New  World.  The 
destination  of  the  voyage  is  New  Orleans.  When  near  the 
coast  of  Florida  the  ship  takes  fire  and  nearly  all  on  board 

^■^^Talvj,  Die  Auswanderer,  Vorwort. 

1*3  Talvj,  The  Exiles,  chap.  vi. 

—  128  — 


perish,  either  in  the  burning  vessel,  or  through  the  sinking  of 
the  overcrowded  row  boats.  Only  one  boatload  of  passengers 
escapes,  and,  after  being  driven  about  on  the  ocean  for  days, 
with  tortures  beyond  human  endurance,  it  reaches  the  shores 
of  Florida.  Klothilde  is  among  the  rescued.  Hubert  would 
have  been  also,  but  at  the  last  moment  he  had  rushed  back  to 
secure  Klothilde's  property,  and  when  he  returned  the  boat  was 
crowded.  Insane  with  fear  and  excitement,  one  of  the  men 
already  in  the  boat  beats  him  back  with  an  oar,  and  Klothilde 
sees  him  disappear  into  the  gaping  jaws  of  a  huge  wave.  The 
boat  gains  the  land  with  its  occupants  more  dead  than  alive. 
Alonzo  Castleton,  the  planter  to  whose  home  Klothilde  is 
carried,  gives  her  hospitality  and  care  during  a  terrible  illness 
of  three  months,  during  which  a  kind  Providence  robs  her  of 
consciousness.  After  her  recovery  she  realizes  the  necessity  of 
supporting  herself.  All  of  her  property  has  been  sacrificed; 
the  house  in  New  York,  through  which  her  money  had  been 
sent  to  America,  has  failed  and  she  is  penniless.  Through 
Alonzo,  she  obtains  a  situation  as  teacher  of  German  and  music 
in  a  private  family  at  Charleston.  The  household  scenes  here 
are  admirably  drawn,  and  the  two  sisters,  Virginia  and  Sarah, 
are  especially  well  done.  Virginia's  fiery  Spanish  blood  makes 
her  daring  enough  to  run  ofl:'  with  an  adventurer,  to  bid  de- 
fiance to  her  relatives,  and  outwit  the  keenest  of  tliem.  In 
the  pages  of  an  undisguised  romance,  the  part  Virginia's  tem- 
perament plays  in  uniting  Klothilde  and  the  miraculously  saved 
Hubert  would  be  acceptable ;  but  the  boldness  with  which  the 
author  binds  together  the  threads  of  the  theme,  constitute  the 
weakness  of  the  work  as  a  novel. 

The  first  volume  of  the  story  ends  with  Klothilde's 
recognition  of  Hubert  and  her  subsequent  marriage  to  him. 
The  second  volume  is  taken  up  largely  with  their  trials  and 
difficulties  in  making  a  home  of  their  own.  Klothilde  and 
Hubert  have  many  things  to  tell  each  other,  and  it  is  in  these 
conversations  that  the  author  so  skillfully  works  in  her  German 
ideals.  At  last  the  two  are  settled  at  Woodhill,  a  beautiful 
New  England  village.  Here,  on  the  very  eve  of  Klothilde's 
becoming  a  mother,  Hubert  is  ruthlessly  snatched  from  her, 

— /  129  — 


the  victim  of  a  duel  which  is  the  outgrowth  of  jealousy  caused 
by  his  former  relations  with  Virginia.  The  young  mother 
cannot  withstand  the  shock  of  a  second  parting  and  dies. 

One  of  the  most  successful  portions  of  the  book  deals 
with  Klothilde's  life  with  the  Castletons.  Sarah  is  the 
exact  opposite  of  her  dashing  sister.  She  is  pious,  after 
a  fashion  dear  to  the  heart  of  Cotton  Mather,  with  whom, 
indeed,  she  is  able  to  claim  relationship.  Her  library  is  thus 
described:  "In  the  middle  of  the  plain  white  marble  mantel- 
piece lay  an  enormous  Bible,  bound  in  velvet  and  gold,  and 
concentrating  in  its  outer  garment,  as  it  were,  all  the  splendor 
which  otherwise  was  carefully  avoided  in  the  whole  room ;  on 
both  sides  of  this  stood,  in  tasteful  and  regular  groups,  some 
smaller  books,  mostly  memoirs  of  pious  missionaries,  Dodd- 
ridge's Rise  and  Progress,  Hannah  More's  Practical  Piety, 
Melville's  Bible  Thoughts,  and  several  other  books  of  the 
kind.  On  the  toilet  table  lay  another  Bible,  smaller  in  size 
and  plainer  in  dress.  This  was  obviously  meant  for  reading, 
the  large  one  only  to  reverence."^^-  Almost  the  first  question 
Sarah  puts  to  Klothilde  is,  "How  many  hours  daily  do  you 
spend  in  prayer,  Miss  Osten?"  "I  would  wish  you,'  she  con- 
tinued, "to  look  upon  this  humble  chamber  as  the  haven  to 
which  the  Lord  has  brought  you  to  learn  to  praise  his 
Almighty  name  even  for  the  storms  by  which  he  has  shat- 
tered the  slight  vessel  of  your  earthly  happiness."  All  of 
her  conversation  is  in  this  strain,  sincere  beyond  all  doubt, 
but  stamped  by  the  narrowness  of  formal  orthodoxy.  The 
following  excerpt  shows  the  lifelessness  of  such  a  faith : 
"Klothilde  approached  Sarah's  table,  and  opened  the  Bible  at 
the  mark  which  she  had  left  in  it.  She  wished  to  see  what 
part  of  the  Holy  Scriptures  had  exerted  such  a  strangely 
soothing  influence  over  her,  after  her  heart  had  just  been 
pained  by  her  conversation  about  her  sister's  dangerous  course, 
her  father's  indifference,  and  the  early  loss  of  her  mother.  She 
saw  with  astonishment  that  Sarah  had  just  been  reading  the 
twelfth  chapter  of  Joshua,  the  record  of  the  great  warrior's 
victory,    which   contains   a   topographical   description   of   the 

—  130  — 


conquered  land  and  the  names  of  the  thirty-one  vanquished 
Kings.     And  yet  in  reading  it,  she  looked  as  attentive  as  if 
she  were  reading  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  or  some  other 
immediate  outpouring  of  the  Spirit.     Klothilde  did  not  know 
that  Sarah  made  it  a  rule  to  read  the  Bible  through  in  order, 
from  beginning  to  end,  at  her  morning  and  evening  devotions, 
and  only   at    other    times    allowed    her  heart    the  luxury  of 
drinking  in  its  favorite  portions.     And  are  there  not  among 
her   brethren   in   the  church   many  most   estimable    families, 
where    the    genealogies    and    the  reports    of    the    bloodiest 
atrocities  of  the  degenerate  people  of  God,  serve  just  as  much 
for  an  introduction  to  family  prayer  as  other  parts  of  the 
Bible,  because  it  might  appear  like  sinfully  despising  the  Word 
of  God  to  pass  over  these  and  certain  other  portions,  at  the 
readings  of  which  the  mistress  of  the  house,  at  least,  would 
prefer  not  to  have  her  daughters  and  young  maid-servants." 
Sarah  was  so  overwhelmingly  pious  that,  when  difficulty 
occurred  in  getting  help,  she  thought  it  right  to  pray  that  God 
would  send  them  "a  very  good  servant-girl."  She  knew  a  lady 
who  prayed  for  an  excellent  girl,  and  "lo  and  behold !  the 
next  morning  the  Lord  sent  her  an  uncommonly  able  girl  from 
New  Hampshire."    This  girl  was  a  real  blessing  in  the  house. 
She  cooked,  baked  excellent  bread,  washed  and  ironed,  helped 
wash  and  dress  the  children,  and  took  two  of  them  to  church 
with  her."     But  her  pious  mistress  was  not  able  to  keep  her, 
for  a  still  more  pious  lady  offered  her  a  quarter  of  a  dollar 
a  week  more! 

Another  admirable  bit  of  satire  in  character  portrayal  is 
contained  in  the  following:  "Besides  the  question  about  the 
restoration  of  the  Jews,  Mrs.  Gardiner  had  another  favorite 
subject,  upon  which  she  liked  to  turn  the  conversation  and 
gather  different  opinions.  It  was  this:  What  had  become  of 
the  ten  lost  tribes  of  Israel  ?  Mrs.  Weller,  with  whom  she  often 
used  to  discuss  the  subject,  adhered  firmly  to  the  old  view,  that 
they  are  to  be  found  in  the  North  American  Indians.  But  for 
Mrs.  Gardiner,  who  had  inherited  from  her  ancestor,  the 
celebrated  Dr.  Cotton  Mather,  an  unconquerable  repugnance  to 
the  filthy,  stiff-necked  race  of  Indians,  it  being,  as  it  were, 

—  131  — 


in  her  blood,  this  origin  was  far  too  good  for  them,  and 
although  she  did  not  acknowledge  it,  she  was  inwardly  much 
more  inclined  to  put  faith  in  the  old  theory  which  Hubbard, 
the  historian  mentions  as  a  possible  one,  namely  that  this 
brood  was  begotten  by  Satan  himself,  during  his  banishment, 
when  he  took  a  couple  of  witches  with  him  for  company.  The 
ten  lost  tribes,  she  believed  with  other  learned  persons,  to  have 
been  discovered  in  Persia  among  the  Nestorians,  or  rather 
among  the  ancient  Chaldeans,  for  she  was  of  the  firm  opinion 
that  these  two  nations  were  one  and  the  same,  and  could  not 
refrain  from  some  doubts  of  the  Orthodoxy  of  those  scholars 

who     rejected     this  arbitrary     supposition There  was 

another  point  in  which  the  two  ladies  differed  that  threatened 
sometimes  to  have  more  serious  consequences.  It  was  the 
question  whether  the  Sabbath  commenced  on  Sunday  at  sun- 
rise or  on  Saturday  at  Sunset."  ^^° 

Mrs.  Weller,  who  was  born  in  Connecticut,  was  of  the 
latter  opinion,  so  that  in  her  home  the  housework  of  the  week 
had  to  be  finished  before  sunset  on  Saturday — a  requirement 
which,  in  view  of  the  demands  of  her  four  children,  and  the 
lack  of  help,  often  wrought  upon  her  a  considerable  hardship. 
It  was  the  duty  of  the  eldest  little  daughter  to  gather  the 
children's  toys  and  lock  them  up  in  the  cupboard  until 
Monday  morning.  Even  the  two-year  old  baby  dared  not 
murmur.  If  it  were  winter  they  might  listen  to  the  parents' 
stories  of  their  own  childhood  and  at  times  interrupt  them  with 
laughter  or  with  questions.  This  description  is  continued  in 
a  most  attractive  way.  With  others,  it  portrays  a  domestic 
life  piteously  misled  by  the  narrow  teachings  of  a  senseless 
orthodoxy. 

The  quiet  home  scenes  in  Richard  Castleton's  home  sudden- 
ly change  into  a  picture  of  terrible  storm.  Virginia,  growing 
more  and  more  restless  and  irritable  under  the  secret  of  her 
love,  vents  her  ill  humor  on  her  slave,  Phyllis.  With  malice 
in  her  heart,  the  latter  dashes  to  pieces  the  picture  of  her 
mother,  Virginia's  dearest  treasure.    The  subsequent  whipping 

150  Talvj,  The  Exiles,  chap,  x,  part  1. 

—  132  — 


of  the  slave  and  the  successful  attempt  to  bribe  her  back  into 
good  humor  by  gratifying  a  material  desire,  give  Talvj 
a  chance  to  express  her  views  upon  the  slaver}-  question. 
"Klothilde  sighed  deeply.  For  the  first  time  she  saw  clearly 
how  terrible  a  curse  the  condition  of  slavery  was  to  mankind. 
Abuse  of  the  body,  infringement  of  personal  liberty,  exorbitant 
demands  of  work — what  are  all  these  compared  with  the 
degradation  of  one's  finer  sensibilities,  with  the  humiliation  of 
self-respect,  with  the  very  deadening  of  all  desire  to  be  free 
and  masters  of  one's  own  soul." 

Talvj  did  not  approve  of  the  methods  of  many  of  the 
abolition  leaders,  but  this  did  not  mean  she  opposed  abolition. 
Her  attitude  is  clearly  brought  out  in  this  story  of  The  Exiles. 
Nothing  in  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin  had  a  greater  abolitionist 
tendency  than  many  of  her  views  expressed  by  Bergmann. 
But  her  method  was  altogether  innocent  of  the  antagonistic 
sting  which  she  so  severely  condemned  in  others. 

Another  great  movement  which  she  did  not  overlook  was 
the  emancipation  of  woman.  In  one  of  Klothilde's  conversa- 
tions with  Mrs.  Gardiner  she  answers,  in  Goethe's  spirit  the 
question,  "What  language,  Miss  Osten,  do  you  think  was  first 
spoken  in  the  world?"  "I  have  no  idea,  such  learned  investiga- 
tions we  German  wonien  gladly  leave  to  our  philological 
students."  The  American  woman  was  clamoring  for  an  equal 
position  with  men  not  only  in  educational  but  in  political 
matters  as  well.  Hubert's  reply  to  Klothilde's  complaint  over 
an  act  of  discourtesy  well  deserves  a  repetition  in  the  twentieth 
century — "It  may  be,  at  least  I  know,  her  behavior  made  it 
right  for  me  to  keep  my  seat  undisturbed."  The  movement 
was  then  in  its  earliest  stages,  and  was  calling  forth  little  more 
than  ridicule. 

Both  Sealsfield  and  Talvj  were  struck  by  the  emptiness  of 
the  "Young  Ladies'  Seminary"  type  of  education.  Talvj  said: 
"The  advantage  of  a  regular  school  education  is  recognized 
among  all  classes  of  society  to  such  an  extent  that  the  young 
girls  whose  instruction  in  youth  was  necessarily  neglected  be- 
cause of  the  poverty  of  the  parents,  often  engage  in  domestic 

—  133  — 


service  for  some  years,  in  order  to  get  a  little  money  with 
which  to  attend  a  'Young  Ladies'  Academy'  for  one  or  two 
years. ^^^  And  thus  they  obtain  a  higher  education !"  Fre- 
quently, as  she  pointed  out,  the  result  was  arrogance  on  the 
part  of  the  daughter  which  often  inspired  a  refusal  to  recog- 
nize her  ignorant  mother;  or,  on  the  other  hand,  the  mother's 
empty  pride  in  her  daughter's  wonderful  achievements.  Seals- 
field  said  about  the  sam.e  subject:  "Now  to  make  a  passing 
remark,  this  is  the  manner  and  fashion  in  which  our  mushroom 
aristocracy  is  formed.  A  couple  of  daughters  are  sent  to  a 
fashionable  school.  On  their  return  home,  they  attract  with 
their  companions  a  few  dozen  young  coxcombs,  and  their 
daughters'  glory  naturally  reflects  on  the  good  papa  and  the 
dear  mamma."  ^^- 

Where  Sealsfield  remarked  upon  the  emphasis  placed  on 
money,  Talvj  remarked  upon  that  placed  on  birth.  She 
said:  "The  Germans  notice  with  a  secret  smile  what  im- 
measurable worth  this  son  of  a  democratic  republic  places 
upon  noble  origin  and  family  relationship.  A  longer  res- 
idence in  America  should  teach  them  that  no  nation  on  earth 
places  more  value  on  excellent  birth  and  bonds  of  relationship 
than  the  democratic  Americans."^^^  Sealsfield,  on  the  other  hand, 
said :  "No  nation  in  the  universe  has  so  stiff  an  appearance  as 
ours,  and  especially  our  good  families;  for  thank  Heavens! 
our  middling  classes,  the  real  nation,  know  nothing  of  it.  But 
our  aristocracy — that  is,  those  who  would  like  to  be  it — if  it 
depended  on  them  our  popular  independence  would  soon  be 
destroyed.  The  man  who  has  a  hundred  thousand  dollars  will 
not  condescend  to  look  at  one  who  has  fifty  thousand,  and  the 
latter  is  as  arrogant  toward  him  who  has  only  ten  thousand. 
You  are  just  as  respectable  as  you  are  heavy."  ^^* 

Conditions  in  America  in  regard  to  music,  art,  poetry,  and 
religion  were  impartially  considered  by  her,  not  as  invit- 
ing superficial  criticism,  but   as   one  offering  explanation  for 

1^1  Talvj,  The  Exiles,  chap,  iv,  part  2. 

i°2  Sealsiield,  Sketches  of  American  Society,  p.  7. 

153  Talvj.   The  Exiles,  chap,  iv,  part  2. 

15*  Sealsiield,  Sketches  of  American  Society,  p.  74. 

—  134  —  ■       ' 


the  slow  advance  of  general  refinement.  The  practical  trend  of 
American  affairs,  the  material  interests  of  the  whole  nation, 
made  the  American  spirit  less  ready  to  receive  the  influences  of 
culture  than  the  German.  Did  Francke  have  a  material 
motive  in  founding  his  orphans'  asylum  in  Halle?  Have  the 
great  academies  of  science  and  art  in  Germany  been  evolved 
out  of  worldly  motives?  And  yet  Talv  doubted  this  general 
opinion,  for  she  did  not  feel  that  a  painting  need  be  less  beauti- 
ful when  painted  to  fulfill  an  order  than  if  produced  by  inner 
feeling.  The  development  of  art  and  literature  in  America 
was  hindered,  in  part,  she  said,  by  national  self-love,  which 
made  the  country  wish  to  stand  in  the  front  rank  and  dictate  to 
her  neighbors,  and  partly  by  the  absence  of  true  criticism.  A 
lack  of  discrimination  and  a  senseless  enthusiasm  for  everything 
written  crippled  and  retarded  the  development  of  poetry. 
Architecture  in  America  already  showed  great  promise,  which 
Talvj  recognized  and  praised.  She  believed,  however,  that 
speculative  philosophy,  so  fertile  in  Europe,  could  never  become 
national  in  America.  A  group  in  Boston  were  pursuing  it 
under  the  form  of  Transcendentalism,  but  for  philosophy  to  be 
popular  nationally  seemed  to  her  out  of  the  question.  It  was 
not  practical,  not  useful — the  great  slogan  of  the  American 
nation.  And,  said  Talvj,  "It  lies  in  the  very  nature  of  things 
that  a  democratic  republic  in  itself  cannot  be  an  especial  pro- 
motor  of  the  fine  arts  and  science but  this  will  not  pre- 
vent the  true  genius  blazing  a  path  for  himself."  ^^^ 

With  such  descriptions  and  observations  Talvj  wove  a 
story  of  charm  and  interest.  Truth  to  life,  clearly  reflective 
of  actual  experience,  is  so  evident  that  one  must  needs  believe 
in  the  character  without  having  seen  any  even  faintly  similar. 
Her  pictures  are  not  merely  hard,  accurate  reproductions ;  they 
are  photographs,  enriched  and  vitalized  by  feeling  and  senti- 
ment. The  power  of  her  keen  observation  and  her  individuality 
of  expression  are  constantly  seen.  Her  style  is  simple  and 
unstudied,  clear  and  readable. 

155  Talvj,  The  Exiles,  chap,  iv,  part  2. 

—  135  — 


CONCI<USION. 

As  one  considers  the  works  of  Talvj  in  their  entirety,  a 
very  simple  and  logical  division  suggests  itself,  namely :  scien- 
tific and  aesthetic.  Under  the  latter  head  may  be  grouped  her 
poetry,  comparatively  insignificant  in  bulk,  and  her  novels; 
under  the  former  all  her  other  writings,  for  the  most  part 
either  purely  historical,  or — to  use  a  term  especially  applicable 
to  her  work  in  popular  poetry — cultural  historical. 

For  a  young  nation,  lacking  a  long  period  of  historical 
development,  it  is  not  hard  to  realize  how  significant  a  really 
scientific  treatment  of  the  events  of  early  settlement  was. 
Mute  evidence  to  the  fact  that  previous  to  the  Revolution 
America  possessed  practically  no  historical  literature  is  fur- 
nished by  the  poverty  of  material  covering  this  period.  The 
long  chronicles  and  records  of  events  and  dates  cannot  be 
viewed  as  the  organized  product  of  historical  research,  and, 
as  has  been  pointed  out  in  a  previous  chapter,  their  very  authen- 
ticity is  doubtful.  Into  a  nation  lacking  historical  sense,  Talvj 
came  as  the  representative  of  a  country  where  the  historical 
viewpoint  was  paramount.  She  had  absorbed  the  influence  of 
that  whole  period  in  which  the  present,  gropingly  trying  to 
bring  itself  into  comm.unication  with  the  classical  past,  dis- 
covered that  changed  and  progressive  condition  of  life  made 
a  union  with  bygone  ages  impossible,  and  thus  became  con- 
scious of  a  brilliant  future.  The  time  was  instinct  with  a 
desire  to  embrace  the  whole  cycle  of  development  and  the  cul- 
mination of  this  desire  was  the  historical  viewpoint.  In  her 
whole  historical  method  we  may  trace  the  influence  of  Herder's 
and  Hum.boldt's  views  concerning  history.  I  mention  the 
names  of  these  two  authors,  because  Herder's  view  of  history 
was  very  thoroughly  developed  by  Humboldt,  especially  in  the 
latter's  essay  Ueber  die  Aufgabe  eines  Geschichtsschreihers. 
Herder  regarded  the  whole  development  of  the  world  as  his- 
torical. Lamprecht  has  expressed  this  point  of  view  very 
well  when  he  says,  "As  the  Greeks  developed  art,  the  Romans 
law,  so  each  nation  in  turn  will  develop  other  sides  of  life  until 
the  cycle  of  culture  is  complete  and  God's  purpose  is  accom- 

—  136  — 


plished."  ^^^  With  this  idea  as  a  basis,  Humboldt  defined  the 
task  of  the  historian  as  representing,  simply  and  sincerely,  what 
had  happened.  The  events  of  the  past  are  evident  to  our  senses, 
through  their  results,  only  in  part ;  the  rest  must  be  arrived  at 
by  a  process  of  analysis  and  reasoning.  What  appears  is  dis- 
sociated, out  of  its  proper  relation,  and  isolated ;  the  real  truth 
of  what  has  happened  rests  upon  the  discovery  of  these  invisible 
parts  which,  joined  with  the  visible,  will  make  the  whole  ap- 
parent and  tangible.  And  this  work  of  juncture,  said  Hum- 
boldt, was  the  task  of  the  historian.  That  Talvj  derived  much 
help  and  inspiration  from  both  of  these  great  representatives 
of  German  culture  is  evidenced  by  her  effort  to  act  upon  this 
very  idea.  This  is  especially  well  illustrated  in  the  last  chapter 
of  her  history.  From  the  saliency  of  resulting  events  we  ap- 
preciate more  clearly  that  causes  were  hidden  during  this 
period  of  unrest  at  the  close  of  the  seventeenth  century.  Her 
success  in  combining  the  scattered  facts  of  chance  records  into 
a  related  unity,  thereby  achieving  a  communication  in  which 
Humboldt  says  the  historian  is  like  the  poet,  in  my  judgment, 
makes  Talvj 's  treatment  of  this  phase  of  American  history 
stand  out  conspicuously  above  that  of  any  of  her  contem- 
poraries. Her  tracing  of  the  inner  history  of  religious  evolu- 
tions, for  exam.ple,  shows  how  an  idea  strove  and  grew  until 
it  won  for  itself  an  existence  in  reality.  Her  work  here  is  a 
sound  illustration  of  Humboldt's  principles  that  in  all  that 
happens  there  rules  an  underlying  idea  not  immediately  perceiv- 
able, but  clearly  recognizable  in  the  occurrences.  Again,  in  her 
History  of  John  Smith,  she  embodies  both  Herder's  and  Hum- 
boldt's belief,  that  the  spirit  of  humanity  is  the  spirit  of  the 
world.  By  making  her  History  of  John  Smith  an  intensive 
study  of  the  History  of  Virginia  she  showed  how  great  indi- 
viduals are  more  likely  to  be  the  results  of  great  political 
movements  than  the  causes  of  them.  She  thus,  of  course, 
anticipated  a  method  of  historical  presentation  which  today 
is  very  popular. 

Turning  now  to  the  consideration  of  the  other  sphere  of 
her  scientific  writing,  her  books  upon  folk  lore,  we  see  her 

1516  Lamprecht,  Deutsche  GescJiichte,  vol.  viii,  p.  323. 

—  137  — 


again  embodying  the  idea  of  the  three  great  scholars,  Herder, 
Goethe  and  Grimm.  Herder's  aim  was  to  penetrate  to  the 
innermost  nature  of  man  by  a  study  of  his  folk  songs.  His 
interest  was  not  the  interest  of  the  abstract  scholar  or  collector, 
but  a  vivid  practical  desire  to  implant  the  fundamental  prin- 
ciples of  human  nature  into  the  culture  of  his  times,  thereby 
furthering  its  development.  Goethe  and  Grimm  both  held  this 
view  and  each  in  his  own  way  influenced  German  culture  by 
the  results  of  his  studies  in  the  ballad  and  popular  poetry. 
Talvj's  actual  purpose  with  her  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder 
was  not  to  undertake  a  scientific  examination  of  popular  poetry, 
but  rather  to  place  emphasis  upon  poetry  as  a  natural  expres- 
sion, and  as  a  simple  safeguard  against  the  danger  of  ultra- 
refinement  and  artificiality,  which  even  then  seemed  to  be 
making  itself  felt  in  America.  By  introducing  Herder's  ^" 
great  point  of  view  she  opened  the  eyes  of  Americans  to  that 
source  of  human  culture  which  had  saved  Germany  from  the 
disastrous  effects  of  artificiality. 

Through  Goethe  and  Grimm,  Talvj  received  her  first  in- 
spiration to  study  popular  poetry.  This  inspiration  became  an 
earnest  purpose  which  carried  her  father  into  the  field  than 
most  of  her  predecessors,  and  than  any  of  her  contemporaries. 
She  did  not  follow  Grimm's  steps  into  philological  research, 
but  she  was  as  great  an  enthusiast  as  he  in  collecting  old  songs. 
Herder  had  hoped  for  a  German  Percy,  who,  like  the  good 
English  Bishop  would  discover  and  gather  together  a  similarly 
rich  harvest  of  old  songs.  In  a  measure  she  fulfilled  his  hope. 
Her  treatment  was  original  in  that  she  made  these  songs  the 
basis  for  a  cultural  history,  first  giving  the  significance  to  it  by 
prefixing  a  political-historical  setting.  Again,  her  work  was 
original  in  that  she  undertook  to  explain  the  importance  of 
folk   lore,   pointing  out  that  as   the  natural   expression   of   a 

1^^  In  a  short  biographical  sketch  of  Mrs.  Robinson  the  Interna- 
tional Magazine  for  1850  and  51  says  of  this  book:  "This  is  a  work  of  a 
most  comprehensive  character  and  fills  up  a  deficiency  which  was 
constantly  becoming  more  apparent  in  the  direction  opened  by  Her- 
der." The  highest  praise  of  the  book  and  its  author's  ability  follows, 
vol.  i,  p.  306. 

-.  138  — 


primitive  people  it  was  important  for  literature  and  for  national 
culture. 

In  her  aesthetic  works  she  shows  the  influence  of  move- 
ments and  tendencies  rather  than  personages.  In  tone  and 
meter  her  poetry  bore  a  great  similarity  to  Schiller's ;  but  it 
hardly  seems  profitable  to  pause  upon  it  longer  than  to  point 
out  this  fact.  In  her  novels,  however,  which  reflect  the  in- 
toward  romanticism,  then  in  its  wholesome  and  promissing 
youth,  made  her  work  worthy  of  greater  attention.  The 
Exiles,  written  in  1852,  gives  poetic  expression  to  the  great 
contemporary  tendency  in  Germany,  and  indeed  in  all  Europe, 
to  seek  freedom  of  thought  and  action.  It  is  remarkable  in 
itself  as  well  as  significant  that  her  work  alone  among 
America's  writers  gave  atistic  expression  through  the  pages 
of  a  novel  to  this  great  contemporary  movement,  one  of 
whose  immediate  results  was  the  immigration  of  1848.  It  is 
significant  also  that  she  should  have  caused  her  heroine  to  be 
cast  upon  the  coast  of  Florida  instead  of  New  England,  that 
the  German  thoughts  and  ideals  embodied  in  Klothilde  should 
have  been  implanted  first  of  all  in  the  home  of  southern  aris- 
tocracy, thence  slowly  wending  their  way  northward.  A  narrow 
and  provincial  pride  in  the  Puritan  fathers  had  kept  people 
from  realizing  that  the  real  seat  of  culture  was  then  in  the 
South  and  that  this  was  the  most  fertile  field  in  which  to 
develop  new  ideals. 

How  successfully  Talvj  transmitted  these  cultural  in- 
fluences to  the  American  people  can  as  yet  be  gauged  only 
indirectly,  by  a  logical  inference  from  its  value  and  the  im- 
pressionability of  the  public  to  whom  it  was  presented,  for 
critical  estimates  of  her  work  in  American  magazines  and  news- 
papers were  few.^^*  The  lack  of  them  is  by  no  means  due  to 
any  want  of  appreciation  of  her  services  by  American  editors, 
but  to  the  undeveloped  state  of  literary  criticism  in  this  country 
at  that  early  period.  The  crudity  and  inadequacy  of  this  de- 
partment of  national  literature  was  but  natural  in  a  country 

158  The  following  American  magazines  contain  critical  notices  and 
reviews :  North  American  Review,  Harper's  Monthly,  International 
Monthly,  Grahum's  Magazine  and  Bibliotheca  Sacra. 

—  139  — 


placing  more  emphasis  on  quantity  than  on  quality  of  literary 
out-put,  and,  while  frankly  imitating  English  and  French  mas- 
ters in  all  its  performances,  had  not  yet  realized  its  potential 
value.  The  development  of  criticism  was  hampered,  moreover, 
by  the  fact  that  America's  energy  was  being  consumed  in  an 
effort  to  readjust,  and  to  establish  a  firm  basis  for  government, 
— that  its  cultural  forces  were  being  consumed  by  the  harsh- 
ness and  difficulties  of  material  existence.  In  general,  we 
know  from  the  journals  and  diaries  of  some  of  America's 
most  highly  cultured  men,  that  German  ideals  and  thought 
exerted  a  marked  influence  upon  them.  Furthermore,  we 
may  infer  from  Talvj's  personal  acquaintance  with  niany  of 
these  men  that  she  helped  exert  this  influence.  First  in 
Boston  and  then  in  New  York,  her  home,  we  are  told,  was 
the  frequent  center  of  social  gatherings.  Her  membership 
and  her  highly-appreciated  work  in  the  New  York  Historical 
Society  bespeak  a  recognition  of  her  scholarly  attainments; 
and  as  her  historical  presentations  were  always  calm,  scientific 
investigations  we  know  certainly  that  to  some  Americans,  at 
least,  she  was  interpreting  the  Gernian  point  of  view.  The 
ready  acceptance  of  her  papers  on  the  part  of  the  leading 
American  magazines  indicates,  also,  a  very  substantial  recog- 
nition of  her  ability. 

Recognition  was  also  accorded  her  by  contemporaiy  New 
York  newspapers  at  the  various  times  her  works  appeared. 
Upon  the  publication  of  Heloise  in  1851,  a  number  of  flatter- 
ing comments  appeared.  The  hope  was  invariably  expressed 
that  more  books  might  follow  from  the  pen  of  the  author  of 
Heloise.  Through  this  book,  one  Am.erican  newspaper  re- 
marked, Talvj  brought  to  many  the  atmosphere  of  Russian 
life;  a  service  of  especial  interest  and  timeliness  at  a  moment 
when  translations  of  many  Russian  stories  were  being  dis- 
seminated both  in  Germany  and  America.  A  new  work  by 
Talvj,  as  another  paper  expressed  it,  was  an  event  which  could 
not  fail  to  attract  considerable  attention,  and  was  not  likely 
to  be  overlooked  by  her  numerous  and  intelligent  circle  of 
readers. 

Critics  were  well  agreed  as  to  the  significance  of  her  treatise 

—  140  — 


upon  the  Literature  of  the  Slavic  Nations.  To  be  credited  with 
having  supplied  a  noted  deficiency  in  English,  American,  and 
even  German  scholarship,  as  one  New  York  paper  did,  is 
unusual  praise,  and  carries  with  it  a  recognition  of  her  ability 
and  keen  intellect.  The  London  Athaeneum  of  1850  speaks 
of  this  work  in  the  following  terms:  "This  is  an  American 
publication,  by,  we  believe,  a  German  lady  settled  in  that 
country.  It  has  no  pretentions  to  profound  learning;  but  as  it 
treats  in  a  light  and  and  popular  manner  a  subject  on  which 
English  readers  have  very  scanty  means  of  obtaining  informa- 
tion, it  will  not  fail  of  a  welcome.  Indeed  we  know  of  no 
book  in  our  own  language  which  gives  anything  like  so  com.plete. 
and  attractive  an  epitome  of  the  great  Slavonic  nations  North 
and  South."  ^^®  In  this  work  she  entered  a  field  rarely  trodden 
even  by  those  scholars  in  Germany  who  push  their  researches 
into  regions  which  the  mass  of  philologists  never  think  of  ex- 
ploring. Still  another  significant  statement  discovered  in  one  of 
the  newspaper  comments  related  to  the  translation  she  made  of 
her  own  work,  Life's  Discipline,  in  1851.  "Talvj  is  teaching 
us,"  said  this  article,  "to  appreciate  the  Hungarians  in  spite  of 
the  North  American."  This  would  imply  a  somewhat  active 
interest  in  the  Hungarians  and  their  history  just  about  this  tim.e. 
May  it  not  have  been  this  very  interest  that  led  her  to  translate 
a  book  which  so  artistically  but  faithfully  portrays  Hungarian 
history  and  political  intrigue  ? 

An  unfortunate  feature  in  regard  to  these  criticisms,  which 
are  pitifully  meager  and  lacking  in  detail,  is  that  they  are 
accessible  only  in  the  shape  of  clippings,  to  which  the  names 
of  the  respective  newspapers  and  magazines  have  not  been 
attached.  One,  recognizable  by  its  type,  is  from  the  New 
Yorker  Belletristisches  Journal,  a  German  weekly  of  the  highest 
literary  standing.  Another,  as  we  know  from  a  slight  refer- 
ence made  in  the  course  of  the  discusion  is  from  some  theolog- 
ical paper.  During  these  years  many  of  the  theological  pub- 
lications, in  the  east  especially,  presented  reviews,  criticisms, 
and  even  productions  of  high  literary  merit.  Criticisms  of 
secular    productions    were    at    that    time   of    perhaps    greater 

'^'-•^ London  Athaeneum,  1850,  p.  1069. 

—  141  — 


frequency  and  significance  than  they  have  since  been,  for 
today  magazines  of  this  nature  are  inclined  to  treat  only  those 
works  which  bear  directly  on  theological  subjects. 

From  the  critical  resources  available,  unsatisfactory  as  they 
are,  is  evident  that  in  the  early  and  middle  years  of  the 
nineteenth  century,  Talvj  fulfilled  a  great  service  to  Amer- 
ican culture  as  a  disseminator  and  interpreter  of  the  cul- 
ture of  a  nation  which  has  always  been  recognized  as  distinctive 
for  its  universality.  The  mission  of  the  German-Americans  to 
the  future  civilization  of  America,  is,  we  may  say,  to  pre- 
serve and  cultivate  the  best  of  their  inheritance  in  music, 
literature,  art,  religion,  and  philosophy,  in  order  that  each  in- 
dividual m.ay  become  the  highest  possible  exponent  of  German 
ideals  and  principles.  Through  the  Germans  a  healthy  senti- 
ment has  been  infused  into  a  sort  of  Puritan  ascetism,  and 
German  ideals  have  tempered  materialism  and  regenerated 
orthodoxy  by  representing  humanity  and  religion  as  one.  This, 
too,  we  may  say,  was  Talvj 's  m.ission  in  America;  to  bring 
the  New  World  into  the  higher  spheres  of  human  life  by  unit- 
ing the  best  German  spirit  with  the  best  of  American  spirit, 
in  the  hope  of  establishing  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic,  a  truly 
national  culture,  worthy  to  rank  with  the  culture  of  the  older 
nations  beyond  the  seas. 

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Encyclopedia  Britannica — Celtic   and  Gaelic  Literature,   vol.   v. 

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and  New  York.  1895. 
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Heidelberg,  1897. 
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nerung  an  ihren  lOOsten  Geburtstag.     Pressburg,   1897. 
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Magazines. 

Academy — Vol.  xxxix  &  xlvi.     Ossian. 

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American  Quarterly  Review — 1837,  Review  of  Grund's  Work.  ^ 

Athaeneum — Vol.  i.  Ossian. 

Atlantic    Monthly — Vol.    Ixxxii — Article   by    Chas.    K.    Adams.      Some 

neglected  Aspects  of  the  Revolutionary  War. 
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Education  in  Germany. 

—  144  — 


Bibliotheca  Sacra — Vol.  iv.    Article  by  Philip  Schaf.  German  Literature 
in  America. 
Vol.  vii.    Article  by  Prof.  C.  E.  Stowe.    Review  of  Talvj's  History. 

Blackwood's  Edinburgh  Magazine.  Vol.  cxci. — Articles — Musings  with- 
out Method. 

Blackwood's — Vol.  ci. — Article  on  Ossian. 

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Bernhard  Groethuysen. 

The  Dial — Vol.  i.     German  Literature. 

Eraser's  Magazine — Vol.  ci.  Ossian. 

Graham's  Magazine— Vol.  vii.  Slavic  Literature  and  Heloise. 

Hallesche  Nachrichten. 

Harper's  New  Monthly — Vol.  i  &  ii.     Criticism  of  Talvj's  Works. 

International  Monthly — Vol.  ii.  &  v.  Biographical  Sketch  of  Mrs.  Ro- 
binson and  article  on  translation  of  her  History. 

Knickerbocker — Vol.   xxiii.     Sealsfield. 

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of  Heckewelder — by  Rawle. 

Living  Age — Vol.  Iv.     Article  on  Ossian. 

Morgen-Blatt— 1823.     Pustkuchen  und  Goethe. 

Morgen-Blatt — 1826.     Volkslieder  der   Serben  von   Talvj. 

Morgen-Blatt— 1840.     Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder  von  Talvj. 

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North  American  Review — 1849.  Review  of  Talvj's  History  of  New- 
England. 

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Grimm  und  Therese  von  Jacob.     Berlin,   1904. 

Southern  Literary  Messenger — Vol.  x.   Sealsfield. 

Spectator — Vol.  Ixxiii.     Ossian. 

Studien  zur  Literaturgeschichte. — Der  Untergang  des  Volkslieds  von 
Alfred  Gotze.     Leipzig,  1912. 

Zeitschrift  fiir  deutsche  Wortforschung.  Vol.  iv.  Article  on  Volks- 
lied  und  Volkspoesie  in  der  Sturm-  und  Drangzeit  von  Erwin 
Kircher. 

Zeitschrift  fiir  den  deutschen  Unterricht — Vol.  v.  Materialien  zur  Ge- 
schichte  des  deutschen  Volkslieds  von  Rudolf  Hildebrand. 

Appendix. 

The  following  is  a  list  of  her  works  arranged  with  regard  to  their 
publication. 

Gedichte — signed   Reseda.     Theodor   Hell's  Abendzeitung 1820 

Ein  Aufsatz  iiber  einen  Gegenstand  der  englischen  Literatur — Lite- 

rarisches  Wochenblatt.     December 1821 

*Briefe  eines  Frauenzimmers — Literarisches  Conversationsblatt.  .1821-22 
Uebersetzung     des     Walter     Scottischen     Romans — signed     Ernst 

Berthold— Black   Dwarf.     Taschenbibliothek   Nos.   43-44 1821 

—  145  — 


Old  Mortality— Taschenbibliothek  Nos.  71-74  1821 

Eine  kritische  Anzeige  von  Wuk  Stephanowitsch  Karadschitsch, 
Sammlung    serbischer    Volkslieder.      Literarisches    Conversa- 

tionsblatt,   May    1824 

Psyche  ein  Taschenbuch  bei  Fr.  Ruff.    Halle 1825 

*  Volkslieder  der  Serben — 3  editions,  Brockhaus,  Leipzig 1825-26 

*Das  vergebliche  Opfer — Tiibinger  Morgenblatt   1826 

*Der  Lauf  der  Welt— Ein  Taschenbuch 1834 

*Ueber  die  indianischen  Sprachen  Amerikas.  Aus  dem  Englischen 
des  Amerikaners   John   Pickering,   iibersetzt   und   mit  Anmer- 

kungen  begleitet  von  Talvj.     Leipzig 1834 

^Historical   View   of   the    Slavic    Languages. — Biblical    Repository. 

Andover  and  Nev^^  York 1834 

^Popular  Poetry  of  the  Teutonic  Nations.  North  American  Review  1836 
*Versuch  einer  Charakteristik  der  Volkslieder  germanischer  Natio- 
nen,  mit  einer  Uebersicht  der  Lieder  aussereuropaischer  Vol- 

kerschaften.     Brockhaus,  Leipzig   1840 

*Die    Unachtheit   der    Lieder    Ossians    und    des    Macpherson'schen 

insbesondere.      Brockhaus,    Leipzig    1840 

*Spanish  Popular  Poetry.     North  American  Review 1842 

*Aus  der  Geschichte  der  ersten  Ansiedlungen  in  den  Vereinigten 
Staaten  (Captain  John  Smith).  Raumers  Historisches  Ta- 
schenbuch.    Brockhaus,    Leipzig 1845 

*Geschichte  der  Colonisation  von  Neu-England.  Von  der  ersten 
Niederlassung  daselbst  im  Jahre  1607  bis  zur  Einfiihrung  der 
Provincialverfassung  von  Massachusetts  im  Jahre  1692.  Nach 
den  Quellen  bearbeitet.     Nebst  einer  Karte  von  Neu-England 

im  Jahre  1674.     Brockhaus,  Leipzig 1847 

*The  Loves  of  Goethe — Sartain's  Union  Magazine  New  Monthly. . .  .1850 

*Life's    Discipline,    New    York 1850 

*Heloise  or  The  Unrevealed  Secret.     New  York 1850 

*Historical  View  of  the  Languages  and   Literature  of  the  Slavic 

Nations.     New   York   and  London 1850 

*Heloise    (German) .     Brockhaus,   Leipzig 1852 

*Die   Auswanderer.      Brockhaus,    Leipzig 1852 

Kurmark  und  Kankasus — Bibliothek  der  neuen  belletrischen  Lite- 

ratur.     Nos.  575 — 576.     Wurzen  Verlags-Comptoir 1852 

Maria  Barcoczy.     B.  d.  n.  b.  Literatur.     No.  613 1852 

*Uebersichtliches  Handbuch  einer  Geschichte  der  slavischen  Spra- 
chen und  Literatur.  Nebst  einer  Skizze  ihrer  Volkspoesie  von 
Talvj.  Mit  einer  Vorrede  von  Edward  Robinson.  Deutsche 
Ausgabe  iibertragen   und    bevorwortet   von   Dr.   B.    K.    Briihl, 

Brockhaus,    Leipzig    1852 

*The  Exiles,  New  York   1853 

*The  Poetry  of  Southern  France.    Putnam's  Magazine 1853 

—  146  — 


* 


Eine  deutsche  Uebersetzung  von  Edward  Robinson's  "Biblical  Re- 
searches in  Palestine"  under  dem  Titel,  "Neuere  biblische  For 

schungen  in   Palestine" 1853-54 

*Charlemagne  and  his  Household.     North  American  Review 1855 

*Russian  Slavery — North   American   Review 1856 

*Ein  Ausflug  nach  dem  Gebirge  Virginiens  im  Sommer.     Wester- 

manns    Monatshefte    Nos.   4-6 1856 

*Dr.   Faustus— Atlantic    Monthly    1857 

*Anna  Louisa  Karschin — Westermann's  Nos.  23-24 1858 

*Die  Shaker.     Westermann's  No.  48 1860 

*Die  weissen  Berge  in  Neu  Hampshire — Zeitschrift  aus  der  Fremde. 

Nos.   30—32    1860 

*Die  Falle  des  Ottawas — Westermann's  No.  53 1861 

*Deutschlands    Schriftstellerinnen    bis    vor    100    Jahren — Raumer's 

Historisches    Taschenbuch.      Brockhaus,    Leipzig 1861 

Physicshe  Geographic  des  heiligen  Landes.    Aus  dem  Nachlass  des 

Prof.   Robinson — Vorrede   von  Talvj 1865 

*Funfzehn  Jahre.     Brockhaus,  Leipzig    1868 

*Die  Kosaken  und  ihre  historischen  Lieder.  Westermann's  No.  59..  1869 

.  .Ein  Bild  aus  seiner  Zeit.    Westermann's  Nos.  69 — 72 1870 

Gesammelte  Novellen.    Edited  by  her  daughter 1874 

* 

The  following  personal  notes  are  of  interest,  perhaps,  because  of 
their  authors : 

New  York,  Nov.  1,  1858. 
My  dear  Mr.  Robinson : — 

My  wife  is  not  well  enough  to  come  into  town  and  attend  your 
party  on  Wednesday  evening,  though  she  is  rather  on  the  mend- 
ing hand.    I  do  not  often  pass  the  night  in  town  but  hope  to  be  able  to 

do  so  on  that  occasion My  wife  desired  me  to  express  to  you 

her  love  and  her  regrets. 

I  am  dear  Madam, 

truly  yours, 

W.  C.  Bryant. 

*  *        * 

New  York,  Nov.  1,  1858. 
Mr.  Olmstead  regrets  that  a  previous  engagement  will  prevent  his 
acceptance  of  Mrs.  Robinson's  kind  invitation  for  Wednesday  evening 

next. 

*  *        * 

New  York,  January  9,  1850. 
My  dear  Mrs.  Robinson  : 

Mrs.  Bancroft,  who  isn't  very  well  this  morning,  begs  me  to  write 
to  you  that  for  tomorrow  evening  she  has  two  engagements  of  rather 

*Books  I  have  been  able  to  obtain. 

—  147  — 


long   standing It   is  particularly  a   source  of  regret  to   us,   as 

nothing  would  be  more  agreeable  to  us  than  to  visit  you  and  Mr.  R. 
in  the  social  friendly  manner  you  propose. 
I  remain, 

Dear  Mrs.   Robinson, 

Very  truly  yours, 

George  Bancroft. 

:):  *  * 

New  York,  July  25,   1854. 
Dear  Madam:— I  shall  be  most  happy  to  avail  myself  of  your  kind 
invitation  to  take  tea  with  you  this  evening. 

Very  sincerely  yours, 

Bayard  Taylor. 


—  148 


VITA 

The  writer  was  born  in  Ouincy,  Illinois,  September  1,  1882. 
After  graduation  and  one  year  of  post-graduate  work  at  the 
Ouincy  High  School,  she  continued  her  education  at  the  Illinois 
State  Normal  University  at  Normal,  graduating  from  that  in- 
stitution in  1902.  Subsequently  she  was  an  assistant  in  the  High 
School  at  Lexington,  Illinois,  for  one  year ;  Principal  of  the 
Fulton,  Illinois  High  School  for  three  years ;  and  instructor 
in  Latin  in  the  Dixon,  Illinois  High  School  for  three  years. 
In  the  summer  of  1909  she  entered  the  University  of  Illinois 
from  which  institution  she  received  her  Bachelor's  degree 
in  June  of  1910.  In  1910  she  was  given  a  scholarship  in  the 
Graduate  School  of  the  University  of  Illinois  and  received 
her  Master's  degree  in  1911.  From  1911  to  1913  she  held  a 
fellowship  in  the  Graduate  School  of  the  same  institution  and 
was  given  the  Doctor's  degree  in  June  1913.  Since  Septem- 
ber, 1913,  she  is  occupying  the  position  of  Dean  of  Women 
in  Ohio  University,  Athens,  Ohio. 


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